The Times West Virginian

September 3, 2012

Top priority

Despite hectic schedules, Anselene family puts daughter’s health first

By Emily Gallagher
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — It’s all about the kids in the Anselene family.

Parents Rodney and Cindy do everything they can for their children: Alexis, twin boys Justin and Caleb, and Ashley, who lives in Kentucky.

Rodney is a health and physical education teacher at East Fairmont High School and Cindy works for Fresenius Medical Care in Fairmont. With her job, Cindy sometimes has to travel, leaving it up to Rodney to make sure everyone is on time.

Their oldest child, Ashley, recently started a new job in nursing at a hospital in Kentucky. She tries to visit at least once a month.

From the early spring through the summer, Rodney and Cindy’s schedules were busy.

“Our schedules this year have kind of slowed down and changed direction,” Rodney said. “But we’re still as busy as ever.”

The twins played travel soccer for West Virginia United year-round while playing other sports such as basketball, cross country and track when they went to Fairmont Catholic. Now the twins are in high school at Fairmont Senior and are on the soccer team.

Also keeping them on their feet was their daughter Ashley. She recently graduated from Marshall and was a cheerleader for the Thundering Herd.

“That kept us very busy,” Rodney said. “We also chased around Ashley when she was cheerleading.”

Along with all the hectic sports, Alexis — who had an initial transplant when she was 6 months old — has had some medical problems over the past few years and had a second liver transplant in March.

“She got so sick that she couldn’t go back,” Rodney said. “We basically spent all of January through June at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh.”

Alexis had been recovering from the transplant when she came down with a rare form of meningitis in May.

“She’s battling the meningitis as well as recovering from the transplant,” Rodney said. “She’s had a very tough time.”

About once a week the family travels to Pittsburgh to take Alexis to the Children’s Hospital for check-ups. During the summer it was easy for Rodney and Cindy to care for Alexis because Rodney wasn’t working. During recovery, Alexis is now able to take care of herself, which helps because Rodney is at work.

“She needs an I.V. and she is able to do that by herself now,” Rodney said.

Great family support has helped Rodney and Cindy make sure every kid is OK. Alexis’ grandparents would stay with her when her parents couldn’t so that Justin and Caleb wouldn’t miss a game or practice.

“We were able to keep everybody in whatever they did,” Rodney said.

Justin and Caleb have provided help as well, being supportive of their sister and helping her when needed.

Rodney said that because Justin and Caleb are twins they are each other’s best friend. They may have different personalities, but they look out for each other.

“I think Caleb is a little more funny while Justin is more serious,” Rodney said. “They have their disagreements but never one to hurt one another.”

Email Emily Gallagher at of follow her on Twitter @EGallagherTWV.