Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has helped solve the visa problem that recently threatened to send a 9-year-old British boy back to England before he could finish cancer treatments at Children’s Mercy Hospital, his office said Wednesday.
After his staff learned about Alexander Goodwin’s troubles from a Topeka television station, Kobach asked the Department of Homeland Security to extend Alex’s travel visa, said Kobach spokeswoman Desiree Taliaferro.
Kobach is optimistic the problem has been solved, Taliaferro said.
Reached via a direct Twitter message, Alex’s father, Jeff, who returned to England this week, said he was trying to confirm the good news. His wife, Maria, who is still in the Kansas City area with Alex, has talked with Kobach. The family is waiting for confirmation from Homeland Security.
Alex has been in the Kansas City area since December for surgery and chemotherapy in his battle against Ewing sarcoma, a rare cancer that attacks bones and soft tissue. Doctors in the United Kingdom misdiagnosed the disease for nearly six months, allowing Alex’s cancer to spread before treatment began.
His father, Jeff Goodwin, announced last week on social media that Alex’s 90-day tourist visa, which had been extended once, was set to expire in mid-April. Alex’s treatments are not scheduled to end until late June. Alex also will need to return to Kansas City later for additional treatment, including a second surgery tentatively set for early 2018.
Alex is going through a physical therapy regimen to regain full use of his right leg. Surgeons at the University of Kansas Hospital replaced his right hip, femur, knee and upper shin bone with artificial parts in January. They also removed some of his muscles and other soft tissue around those bones.
The continued cancer treatments are targeting lesions in his left hip and leg.
Meanwhile, Alex has added a hobby to stay busy. He’s now collecting law enforcement “challenge” coins from across the United States. The coins are handed out by police departments, companies and others as goodwill gestures.
The coins for Alex are being routed through Kansas City, Kan., Police Chief Terry Zeigler, one of several people in law enforcement who befriended Alex via Twitter last year and suggested he come here for treatment. Alex’s dad is a police officer in England.