GU Football Coach, Wife Cope As Infant Daughter Struggles With Potentially Fatal Birth Defect

By Kathy Orton, Special to The Washington Post, September 27, 2003; Page D01

Every morning, Bob Benson and Meghan Alexander wonder if this is the day their daughter will die.

The first child of the Georgetown football coach and the Potomac School field hockey coach has a rare chromosome abnormality, known as trisomy 13 or Patau's syndrome. Hope's chances of living to her first birthday are remote. "She is not expected to live and really, what we've been told, cannot function in life as we know it," Benson said.

Benson and Alexander want Hope to be comfortable and pain-free. But they are not taking any extreme measures to prolong her life, and Hope has a do-not-resuscitate order on her medical chart. Benson and Alexander have tried to live as normally as possible. They each continue to coach. They took Hope to the Jersey shore this summer. Hope attends Georgetown's and Potomac School's practices and games.

Part of the unity is for practical reasons. Although Benson and Alexander are aided by eight hours of nursing care daily, caring for Hope requires the two of them. Hope must be fed every 31/2 to four hours. It takes at least an hour to feed her......

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