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Rare condition causes young girl to gain massive weight after brain surgery

Ilana Panich-linsman / for NBC News

Alexis Shapiro, 12, suffers a pre-teen moment while at Outback Steakhouse with her family for her birthday dinner. Alexis had a brain tumor removed three years ago, when she was a normal-sized 9-year-old. Ever since the surgery, the fourth-grader has gained an average of 2 pounds a week -- with no end in sight.

JoNel Aleccia, NBC News

Surgery to remove a brain tumor two years ago has left a 12-year-old Texas girl with a heartbreaking condition that makes her gain massive amounts of weight — even though her body thinks it’s starving.

Doctors say a gastric bypass operation is the only thing that can help Alexis Shapiro, who is 4-foot-7 and weighs 198 pounds. But the U.S. military, which provides her family’s health insurance, says it won’t pay for the $50,000 weight-loss procedure because she’s too young. Read full story

Ilana Panich-linsman / for NBC News

Jennifer Shapiro helps her daughter Alexis decorate her very own Christmas tree, a gift she requested and received for her 12th birthday.

Ilana Panich-linsman / for NBC News

Photos of Alexis and her siblings, Kayley and Ethan, prior to Alexis' surgery in 2011.

Ilana Panich-linsman / for NBC News

Alexis at her home.