December 14, 2010
Utah college student shines despite rare, ravaging disease
Alex Wallen was one of two young women recognized at this year’s St. Lucia celebration this past weekend. Every Christmas season, the Swedish Society celebrates St. Lucia, an angel like woman symbolizing light and sustenance.
Wearing the saint’s crown symbolizes charity, thoughtfulness, hope — and new opportunities to serve. Those who graduate from the traditional program, work hard to reach this point. And Wallen, in particular has had more than her share of challenges.
Wallen has spent the better part of 19 years fighting to stabilize her body’s chemistry. “It can actually be life threatening for her,” family physician Rebecca Levine said. “Many times, she has come close to having a bad outcome.”
Though she looks as normal as other students attending the College of Eastern Utah, Alex’s own immune system attacks and destroys the body’s glands. Her parathyroid that regulates calcium and other minerals was the first to go. By age 11 the adrenal gland was destroyed — a disorder called Addison’s disease.
For this entire article from the Deseret News, click here.Posted by: psilberman