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Maddox Returns Home
Jessica Earle, ctvedmonton.ca
Published Sunday, May 30, 2010 8:03AM MDT
A two-and-a-half year old who has captured hearts around the world is back in his home city after returning from New York late Friday night.
Maddox, his dad Mike Flynn and his mom Nicole Champagne were greeted by droves of family members at the Edmonton International Airport after they travelled to the Big Apple last week so the toddler could undergo intensive surgery to remove a lymphatic malformation on his face.
Despite the long trip Maddox was in high spirits on Friday, laughing and running around the arrival gate.
"We're all happy to be home and he's healthy," said his mom Nicole.
"Surgery went excellent and he looks amazing."
The first operation, which cost $50,000, focused specifically on the area around Maddox's left eye. The tyke still has a drainage tube that can be seen exiting his left temple area, which family members say will be removed in the next few weeks.
But the medical journey will extend far beyond that step; a second surgery scheduled for July 19th, where doctors will operate on a large mass on the lower portion of Maddox's face. The price tag for that operation is pegged at $90,000.
The family will pay for the medical expenses out of a trust fund that is being topped up by Canadians and people around the world. As of Saturday afternoon, the account stood at $280,000.
"We're just so thankful they've done all this and supported Maddox," said the toddler's grandmother, Pat Champagne.
The family says it's so moved by the generosity of strangers, it plans to set up the Maddox Flynn Foundation with any leftover money. The charity would provide financial assistance and information to other families who have children with birth malformations.
Once Maddox is stronger, the family also plans to lobby the Alberta government to offer more immediate support to families in similar situations. Mike and Nicole had written to the province's out-of-country health services committee in hopes of receiving help to pay for the surgery, but found the process would have taken too long, delaying the operations they say their son desperately needed.
But the charity and lobbying efforts are for later.
Right now, the Flynns and Champagnes say they plan to bask in the unceasing well wishes from Edmontonians, which CTV witnessed during a Saturday trip with the family to West Edmonton Mall's Galaxy Land.
"Everybody has just fallen in love with Maddox and they follow his story so much," said Nicole.
"They stop and they ask how he's doing and they're happy."
-With Files from Dez Melenka