GILES COUNTY, Va. – A New River Valley community came together to show a young girl she is loved, and to wish her well on an important day.
Community members, firefighters, and police officers from Pearisburg, Narrows and throughout Giles County surprised Narrows High School freshman Alexius Dawson with a parade in front of her home before she headed off to New York for three months to undergo surgery for a rare type of bone cancer on her hip. In a video posted to Facebook, you can see her mom Nikki Horton bringing Alexius to the front yard to see the surprise.
Despite being an active teenager, Alexius told 10 News in a 2019 interview that she took a bad tumble a couple of years ago and her hip never fully recovered.
"My hip would hurt constantly, like really bad," Alexius told 10 News during that interview. She later found out she has osteosarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer. There's a tumor the size of a man's fist on her right hip pressing into a nerve.
"It was kind of like a shock," Alexius said. "I didn't really think it was something serious like that."
Alexius' mom, Nikki Horton, was stunned.
"I just hurt. No parent wants to hear that their child has cancer. No parent wants to see their child struggle," Horton said at the time.
Since, the community support across has been unwavering. The surprise parade was a warm sendoff of good wishes before surgery. Many handed off balloons or presents, and even made signs with the slogan “#AlexiusStrong” that’s now well known in town and on socialmedia.
In the fall, Giles High School teamed up with cross town rival Narrows High School to honor the JV cheerleader at their football game, raising thousands of dollars for her medical expenses. Giles and Narrows players held fundraisers and collected donations in helmets before the game.
Alexius is already in New York. She goes in for surgery next week.
Join 10 News in wishing Alexius and the family well! We will be thinking about you, sending our love and wishing you a speedy recovery.