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Alexis Sloan, 32, heart transplant survivor

She had six years of life after receiving a boxer’s heart

Alexis Sloan
Alexis SloanRead more

WHEN NOBLE Khayee Lee saw the comely young woman in a Chinese market at 22nd and Lehigh, he knew she was the woman for him.

There was just one problem. Noble was afflicted with crippling shyness. But love conquers all, as the saying goes, and love conquered Noble's shyness.

"I got up my courage and spoke to her," he said. "She was so happy and smiling. I felt comfortable right away talking to her."

Noble had no way of knowing that the young woman, Alexis Sloan, had gained a kind of notoriety by being one of the five people who received the organs of a boxer, Francisco "Paco" Rodriguez, who died of head injuries in 2009 at age 25 after a bout at the Blue Horizon.

Paco's wife, Sonia, donated her husband's organs through the Philadelphia-based Gift of Life program. The story was told in a two-part series in the Daily News by Mark Kram.

Alexis received Paco's heart in November 2009, and Alexis, who had suffered from congestive heart failure and almost died, was given a new lease on life.

However, in recent months, her health began to deteriorate. She suffered shortness of breath, a tightness in the chest, constant coughing, an inability to walk very far without being fatigued.

She had been in and out of Hahnemann University Hospital since last summer as her symptoms escalated. She died Friday at Hahnemann. She was 32 and lived in Mount Airy.

A woman of many interests and talents, Alexis had nearly six years of exuberant life in which she got married, held several jobs, indulged her instincts for marketing and fashion, cooking and traveling, and became a passionate activist in organ-donation programs.

Alexis was the second of the five recipients of Rodriguez's organs to die. Ashley Owens Quinter, who received the boxer's lungs, died Dec. 8, 2011, of respiratory failure at age 24.

But she had two years of active living in which she graduated from college, became a teacher, got married, traveled and indulged in vigorous sports.

Ashley was scheduled to ride in a Gift of Life float at the Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., in January 2012. Alexis took her place, riding with Paco's brother, Alex Rodriguez. She told family and friends it was the thrill of a lifetime.

Alexis was working in home health care and as a nurse's aide when she and Noble met in that Chinese store. They married on Dec. 28, 2014.

"There was instant chemistry," Noble said. "She was a beautiful person. Her energy could light up a room. People felt comfortable around her. They said that after a short time with her, they felt that they had known her forever.

"She was my support. She kept me afloat, kept me positive, always making me smile."

Over the years, Alexis held jobs with Comcast, Noresco energy company, Visalus products, among others. She also was an entrepreneur, selling products online.

But her main passion was to promote the ideals of organ-transplant programs. She spoke frequently on the subject, at seminars, at Temple University and other institutions and agencies. She traveled around the country to carry the message.

Alexis loved fashion. Her mother, Maxine Sloan, recalled that at age 13, Alexis was selected out of about a thousand contestants by Model Search America for a trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with modeling agencies.

"She accomplished a lot in her short life," her mother said. "She loved to laugh, she loved animals, she loved children, she loved people."

Alexis also loved to cook, especially what she called "decadent food," that is, food that isn't good for you but tastes good.

She also enjoyed traveling. Jamaica was a favorite destination.

Alexis was also active in the Crossroads Evangelical Church at Chelten Avenue near Lena Street.

She was born in Philadelphia to Maxine and Henry Clayton Sloan Jr. She graduated from Parkway High School and went on to the Star Career Academy, where she studied phlebotomy and the use of electrocardiograms. "She had a passion for the medical field," her husband said.

"She was very kindhearted," her mother said. "She loved to enjoy herself."

Besides her husband and parents, she is survived by a brother, Brandon Sloan.

Services: Were being arranged.