KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- “Very happy, very lucky as well,” says Alexander Goodwin.
A nine-year-old British boy fighting cancer still calls himself lucky after a special behind the scenes trip to the Kansas City Zoo.
The brave boy winning the fight against bone cancer has been embraced by the Kansas City community in many ways.
Today he and his family spent the day at the Kansas City Zoo to get their mind off things before his big surgery tomorrow.
“I think it’s been great, I’m passionate about nature,” Alexander said.
“The fact that we can all as a family forget what Alex is going through is really nice,” said his mom, Maria.
It was a day at the zoo filled with smiles and laughter -- something the Goodwin family truly needs after spending much of their time with doctors, as Alex receives treatment for his cancer.
“Alex wanted to do something enjoyable before he has his surgery tomorrow at KU,” said Alex’s dad, Jeff. “It’s the first of probably three operations Alex is going to need in relation to his cancer.”
The zoo treated Alex, his sister Sophia, and his parents to a behind-the-scenes look at some animals to get their minds off things.
“Alex has been ill for a long time now. It’s tiring, it’s draining. As his father, it’s worrying, it causes anxiety, and you just want the best for your child,” Jeff added.
“Oh it’s been amazing to see Alex and Sophia really, so happy and carefree in a way,” Maria said.
Alex had an opportunity to get up close with some of the animals.
“I love the birds,” Alex said. “So far my favorites were Steve and Cha-Cha, the big ones!”
It was a welcome distraction from the usual doctor's appointments.
“Alex has been wanting to visit the zoo, but with his chemotherapy and everything he hasn’t had the opportunity,” Jeff explained.
“It just makes them relax and not constantly think about the fact that they’re feeling sick, or they have to have blood tests tomorrow, or a serious surgery like Alex is going to go through tomorrow,” Maria said.
Besides the typical zoo activities, Alex got to feed the birds, and pet the penguins, but most importantly, made memories he can hold on to as he is healing post-surgery.
“He’s gone through a lot of pain and suffering, and he has some massive obstacles to overcome, and this is just a way for him to get some relief, and be a little boy again, and be nine years old again, and smiling and being happy, and I’m grateful for everybody that’s been a part of that,” Jeff added.
“It’s just something we’ll never forget,” Maria said.
The Goodwins said Wednesday’s surgery should help Alex greatly, but he will still need more chemo and further operations.
They thank the whole community for all the constant support and kindness.