From Grief to Blessing: How two fallen officers brought Alex Goo - KCTV5

From Grief to Blessing: How two fallen officers brought Alex Goodwin to Kansas City

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Getting Alexander Goodwin across the globe would not have happened if it were not for a separate tragedy that hit the metro months before. (Brett Hacker/KCTV5) Getting Alexander Goodwin across the globe would not have happened if it were not for a separate tragedy that hit the metro months before. (Brett Hacker/KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

KCTV5 is telling the untold story of how a little boy from England really ended up here in Kansas City for cancer treatment.

Getting Alexander Goodwin across the globe would not have happened if it were not for a separate tragedy that hit the metro months before.

At the time of Alex’s arrival at the end of 2016, all the excitement of a police greeting and escort from the airport, coupled with the undeniable fear surrounding his cancer diagnoses, gave Kansas City a lot to talk about.

But it also overshadowed a very important part of this story until now.

Behind the scenes Alex’s lifesaving treatment was only possible thanks to the loss of two men he never knew: KCK Police Detective Brad Lancaster and Captain Dave Melton.

The saying goes everything happens for a reason. It is something you often hear in a time of grief, but often are left wondering if it will ever make sense. KCK Police Chief Terry Zeigler told KCTV5, “I had no idea that this thing was going to turn out the way it did.”

It was May 2016 when, for the first time in 18 years, the KCK Police Department lost one of its own. Detective Brad Lancaster was shot and killed in the line of duty. Just weeks later, tragedy struck again. Captain Dave Melton, who had just planned Lancaster’s funeral, met the same fate.

“I was heartbroken. I was watching our department…our officers…our staff…go through this grieving process that I could do absolutely nothing about,” Zeigler said.

But he would soon find some purpose – to the unimaginable loss.

Dr.  Lou Wetzel, Chief of Staff at University of Kansas Health System, made that promise to Chief Zeigler after the hospital doctors and staff delivered a donation to the department in the fallen officers’ names.

“In parting we shook hands and I said ‘Chief…if there’s anything we can do please let us know,’” Dr. Wetzel said.

A nice gesture of course, the chief thought, but a saying that is often said in default in a time of grief. Three months later, Chief Zeigler would find himself up at night, searching for inspirational quotes online.

“We lose two officers, I’m trying to find something positive...,” he told KCTV5.

That’s when he stumbled across a little boy -then 8 year old Alex Goodwin.

“He would always say, ‘Have a great day’ or ‘I love you guys.’ It was always something positive,” Zeigler said.

Chief Zeigler felt compelled to send him a care package. That’s when he found out – Alex’s dad, Jeff Goodwin, is a police officer as well.

“It just shows you the thin blue line…it may be very thin, but it’s very long,” Jeff Goodwin said.

Goodwin told KCTV5 that Chief Zeigler reached out at just the right time. Alex had months to live.

Jeff Goodwin had been sending messages to dozens of strangers all over the world, trying and failing to find a cure for his son’s Ewing Sarcoma.

That’s when Chief Zeigler remembered that promise Dr. Wetzel made when the officers passed away.

“When I shook hands with Terry and said – let us know if there’s anything we can do…I…took it very seriously,” Dr. Wetzel said. 

Chief Zeigler connected the two men, more than 4,000 miles apart, and the next day Dr. Wetzel was on the phone making arrangements for the family to come to Kansas City.

Still, the odds were not good. “This tumor was bigger than a football,” Dr. Wetzel explained. "But all involved were up for a fight."

“You can’t ignore the fact that there have been so many twists of fate and circumstances that manifest throughout the journey,” Jeff Goodwin said. Dr. Wetzel echoed that thought, and told KCTV5, “It reaffirms my faith in God…in a higher God…in a purpose in life, and yes it definitely makes the world seem a smaller place,” he said.

Alex Goodwin is now 10 years old.

“Right now…the cancer…is no more!” Alex exclaimed. Although he never met them – his heroes – are the two fallen officers. “I bet they’re safe up there,” Alex told KCTV5.

It’s proof these officers continued to protect, serve, and save just one more life even after they were gone. “I wish they were still here though, and I could see them, said Alex.

“We’ll never forget those guys – never forget them…” Chef Zeigler said.It’s clear the Kansas City area never will, when their spirit, strength, and courage are so much the same of a little boy – who lives thousands of miles away.

“I’m happy to bring smiles to everyone’s face in the country,” Alex said.

Alex will return to Kansas City in May for a check up with the Doctors at Children’s Mercy and KU….the same month of the two-year anniversary of the Detective Brad Lancaster’s death.

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