How My Daughter's Diagnosis Made Our Entire Family Focus On Getting Healthy

April 8, 2014



My name is Kimberly Severson and our Texas Children’s story started in late December of 2010 when my daughter, Alicia Watkins, was 7 years old. Alicia was very active and full of life. We found ourselves at Texas Children’s Emergency Center with doctors hooking her up to all kinds of machines and administering medication. All to find out that Alicia had a chronic form of ITP (Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura), a blood disorder.

The doctors at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers said her condition would be very challenging. Alicia underwent treatment for over a year while we exhausted one option after another. One of her treatments really caused Alicia’s bones to hurt all the time. Because of the steroids she had to take, she developed hypertension, a fatty liver, and gained over 45 pounds. In April of 2012, I was faced with having to make the hardest decision of my life. Alicia went in for an operation called a splenectomy, where surgeons remove her entire spleen. There was only a 50% chance that it would work and put her in remission.

In the summer of 2012, Delvan Reaux and I started working out at a local gym. With the stress of Alicia’s illness and everything our family had been going through, I had gained over 40 pounds myself. We had the pleasure of meeting Zaire Wilborn, a personal trainer that took us out of the gym and started training us at the local park. He also took Alicia under his wing and she lost 45 pounds in one summer! The doctors at Texas Children’s were amazed at her overall progress. Alicia was so happy to find out that the surgery was a success and she was now in remission. As a result of her physical fitness training, her blood pressures have improved, she is again achieving a healthy weight, and is again an active child who is full of life. She once again was able to ride her bike, swim, and be a kid again. All three of us were so inspired by Alicia’s progress as well as our own, and we came up with the idea to start a gym for kids called Total Fitness 4 Kids. Together, Alicia and I have lost a total of 100 pounds and my partner lost 40 pounds with the help of our lead trainer, Zaire Wilborn. Total Fitness 4 Kids is the first physical fitness gym designed for kids ages 5 to 17 with certified personal trainers that monitor and track each individual child’s progress.

Total Fitness 4 Kids started off mobile at a local park in 2012. In August of 2013, we opened our physical location in Pearland, Texas (1118 N. Main 2F, Pearland TX 77581). We've had the pleasure of volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House of Houston and working with children, such as Alicia, undergoing treatment. It was an awesome experience to encourage these children that they can do anything they set their mind to. Total Fitness 4 Kids is also a vendor of Texas Children’s Healthy Planning, and we look forward to working with all children no matter what their struggle may be. In our gym, we are one big happy family where our children encourage, support and uplift one another. Our goal is to have at least five facilities in Texas. Our certified personal trainers are able to identify each individual child’s weakness, and turn it into a strength. Total Fitness 4 Kids parents are joining in on the fun as well. They are working out alongside their kids and encouraging their children to push through!

It’s amazing to think about how Alicia’s journey inspired our family to not only get fit and healthy ourselves, but to motivate, encourage and support other children and families to do the same. Our goal is to help put a smile back on the faces of our children, and let them just enjoy being kids again. We pray that Alicia’s story will inspire and bring sunshine your way too. From a parent that has been in your shoes.

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