A 9-year-old United Kingdom boy battling bone cancer will begin a new phase of his health journey in Kansas City on Friday when he meets with medical staff at Children’s Mercy Hospital.
If tests go well there, Alexander Goodwin could end up undergoing a rare surgery at the University of Kansas Hospital in a few months. Surgeons would replace his cancerous femur with a new hip and a telescopic prosthesis that can be lengthened as Alexander’s body grows. Only a few hospitals nationwide perform this type of surgery, according to a hospital spokesman.
Alexander received an exceptionally warm Midwest welcome Wednesday night after his plane landed in the cold night air at Kansas City International Airport.
Kansas City, Kan., police gave him a royal escort — covered live on the police department’s Facebook page — from the airport through Kansas City, Kan., and into Johnson County.
He rode in a white sport utility vehicle with Police Chief Terry Zeigler, who had spotted Alexander’s Twitter feed, @alexs_journey, and struck up a connection with the boy and his father, Jeffrey Goodwin, a police officer in the United Kingdom.
The chief had noticed that Alexander always ended his tweets with “You guys have a great day.”
Jeffrey Goodwin had asked Zeigler if he knew of any hospitals in the United States that had performed the surgery Alexander needs. As it turned out, KU has.
As explained on a website called Alexander’s Journey, the boy has been battling leg pain since last Christmas but did not get a correct diagnosis until June. He already has gone through weeks of scans and tests and months of chemotherapy for Ewing sarcoma.
The surgery “will be a complex and risky procedure,” according to the website. A crowdfunding page helped raise the money needed for Alexander to come to the United States. More than 1,600 people donated.
Police drove him past a welcoming crowd of officers outside Kansas City, Kan., Police Headquarters then past fire trucks and another crowd at Kansas City, Kan., City Hall.
From there, the procession continued to Westwood, where Westwood View Elementary School students lined the sidewalk, waved signs and chanted “Alex! Alex! Alex!” as the boy’s motorcade came to a stop.
Alexander briefly got out of the SUV and slapped hands with some of the students while his father steadied him from behind.
A smile consumed his face.
The Star’s Tony Rizzo contributed to this report.