OKLAHOMA CITY - Alex Butterfield is a country boy at heart.
The 6-year-old from Cedar Lake loves four-wheelers, fishing and riding his bicycle.
However, Alex has been at the Jimmy Everest Cancer Center since last June, when a chronic cough revealed a monster inside him.
“It was a big mass,” said his dad, Kevin Butterfield. “It had his heart pushed over to the center of his chest. His lung was collapsed, so they had to do immediate surgery.”
The mass under his sternum was a type of bone cancer called Ewing Sarcoma.
Dr. Suraj Pratap said Alex's tumor was the size of a football, adding surgeons had to remove the fluid on his lung.
“It takes your world out from under you, and you start over,” Kevin said.
Alex had to undergo chemotherapy to shrink the tumor to the size of a golf ball.
Months later, another surgery was performed to remove the tumor and a rib.
“Fortunately, in Alex’s case, it didn’t spread to bone marrow and other parts of the body, which can sometimes happen,” Pratap said.
Alex will be back at Jimmy Everest for a few months to continue chemotherapy.
Both of Alex’s parents shaved their heads in solidarity with Alex.
“We asked if he’d feel better if mommy and daddy look like him. We’re a little pack,” said Alex's mom, Ada.
They are bound together and to the medical team at Jimmy Everest that is cheering them on.
“He’s a real little fighter,” Kevin said.
This summer, Alex's family sayid they plan to go four-wheeling and kayaking.
'Kids With Courage' is sponsored by the Jimmy Everest Center.