Little Washington girl’s rainbow hair goes viral

VANCOUVER, Wash. — 3-year-old Olivia Sexton would love nothing more than to play with makeup and bake zucchini muffins every day.

She’s such a bundle of energy, in fact, you wouldn’t realize she’s been in and out of hospitals for almost half of her life.

In 2018, when she was just 21 months, Olivia came down with an unknown type of hepatitis. After a lot of testing, doctors realized she developed aplastic anemia because of the infection, a rare condition where the body stops producing enough new blood cells.

Now, she relies on almost weekly transfusions to stay alive.

“She’s had close to 100 transfusions now, and literally every one of those has saved her life,” said Lori Sexton, her mom.

After exhausting other options to try and cure her, the Sexton family is now preparing for Olivia to receive a bone marrow transplant.

Before the transplant can happen, Olivia must first go through chemo in order to create a blank canvas for the donated bone marrow to latch on to.

There’s a lot of side effects that she’ll have to deal with, but the one that concerns her the most is the fact that she’ll lose her hair.

“She kept saying, no, no, I don’t want to lose my hair,” said Lori.

As a solution, her mom suggested they dye her hair a fun color before Olivia lost it. Her daughter loved the idea, but didn’t want just one color.

“I was like, do you want to dye it red? Do you want to dye it pink…blue? She said ‘No,’ and then I was like, ‘Well, like, what color do you want to dye it?’ and she was like, ‘rainbow,'” said Lori.

With salons closed due to COVID-19, Lori dyed Olivia’s hair herself.

Afterwards, she posted her handiwork on Facebook. Little did she know, it would go viral.

10 days after the first post, Lori’s Facebook page following Olivia’s journey called, “Olivia’s Fight to 100“, went from 100 likes to more than 20,500.

Overwhelmed and grateful for the support, Lori wanted to take the opportunity to bring attention to the importance of donating and becoming a part of Be The Match, the bone marrow registry that matched Olivia with a suitable donor.

Her reasoning? To help others.

“There’s so many more kids who are sicker than Olivia,” she said.