Shortly before having major cancer surgery Wednesday, 9-year-old British lad Alexander Goodwin told thousands of social media followers around the world that this would be “the most important day of my life.”
“So please keep those positive thoughts higher than you’ve ever done before,” he said in a video posted by his father, Jeff Goodwin.
The positive thoughts worked.
“The cancer is out,” orthopedic oncology surgeon Howard Rosenthal said after finishing an extensive surgery at the University of Kansas Hospital.
Rosenthal removed Alex’s right hip joint, thigh bone, knee, upper shin bone and the soft tissues surrounding the cancer-affected bones before implanting man-made replacement parts.
Eventually, Alex’s new titanium thigh bone will need to be replaced with a telescoping one, developed in the United Kingdom, that can lengthen as Alex grows.
This surgery marked a major step in Alex’s battle against Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare cancer. Alex should leave KU within a few days but must return to Children’s Mercy Hospital for more chemotherapy, plus radiation, to treat lesions on the left side of his body. And he will need extensive physical therapy.
“He’s a champion,” Rosenthal said. “He’s going to make it through, he just has a tough road ahead.”
All of the support, from doctors and friends and strangers, has been overwhelming, said Goodwin, a police officer back in England.
“We’ve had nothing but support and kindness from the people of Kansas City and America as a whole,” he said. “It’s amazing. I’ve been inundated with messages of support today from all over the world, really. I know people in the United Kingdom have been waiting up, for messages that Alex has come out of the surgery.”
Alex came to Kansas City last month after his parents researched treatment options for his cancer, which went undiagnosed in England for more than five months after Alex first felt its pain.
This is a milestone in terms of progress, Goodwin said.
“He’s in pain, let’s be honest,” he said. “But he’s come through to the other side. That’s the main thing.… We’ve had a victory today.”\