GREENSBORO, N.C. (WFMY) — Alexis Dermatas grew up in Greensboro and loves golf, her church, serving with Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army.
So it was heartbreaking to see Alexis, who has down syndrome, endure the last three months after the family dog, Oklahoma, attacked her as she was petting him.
Alexis was mauled so badly parts of her face and eyes were stitched up and her nose had to be completely amputated. Doctors said they had never seen that level of facial trauma.
“This has been so hard,” said her sister Anna Dermatas. “Oklahoma was part of the family and he was just a teddy bear.”
Only one doctor in the country can rebuild Alexis’ nose. The process would require eight surgeries and must be done in Tuscon, Arizona. The cost of surgeries is believed to be around $300,000. Her family has started a GoFundMe page to help raise money. Alexis and Anna recently went to Tucson for the first round of surgeries. All the procedures would take the rest of the year.
“She’s scared,” Anna said. “But she knows it’s our only chance and the only doctor that can build a nose from scratch.”
Alexis won numerous gold medals through playing golf in the Special Olympics. She enjoys watching football and making sketches for her sister. Her boyfriend, Randy, has also been supportive as well as Anna.
“She’s the best,” Alexis said of Anna.
She lives with Anna in Greensboro and the two take it one day at a time and try to keep a positive perspective.
“When I went into surgery, I said ‘Can I order a Jennifer Aniston nose?,'” she jokes.