It’s always a special day when Alex Tann, Adelaide’s #BestFireFighterEver, visits.
He was back in the Mix102.3 studio for the first time in 2019 on Friday, and the videos (above and below) prove what a delight it is to see him.
He came bearing presents for Soda’s recent birthday, and was full of questions and conversation for Soda and Michelle Murphy, who is filling in for Jodie this week.
When you put it all into context of what he has been through, Alex’s energy and enthusiasm for life is even more remarkable.
When Alex was three, doctors found a huge legion on his brain and acted immediately to attempt surgery that night with only hours left to try to save his life.
It was an aggressive PNET tumour, and he was given just a one-in-ten chance of surviving.
He endured hundreds of procedures, plus intensive chemo and radiation therapy, and against all the odds, Alex lived.
The tumour did takes its toll. It crushed his optic nerve and took away his sight entirely.
His hearing has also been severely affected, and this year he was fitted with a cochlear implant.
“Almost straight away we could see the difference with him just with his general alertness and awareness of what is going on around him,” his father Phil told us this morning.
“The cochlear has more smarts about it in terms of processing speech etc.”
“The first time we started turning the other hearing aid off, he’s sitting on my lap and I just sort of whispered to him – and he hadn’t heard a whisper in years – ‘Alex I love you’ and this little voice comes back ‘I love you too Daddy’.”
Last year Jodie and Soda rallied Adelaide to Make Alex’s Day by turning him into the best firefighter Adelaide had ever seen.
The State government shut down the city, the fire department got on board, and 10,000 Mix102.3 listeners came out to witness something Soda described as “my favourite thing we’ve ever, ever been involved in”.
Smoke was bellowing out of the Haigh’s building at the end of Rundle Mall and Alex had to get up there and rescue Travis Boak and Erin Phillips from the building to the cheers of the huge crowd below.
That day will live on in everyone’s heart for a very long time but it is even more amazing to see Alex in 2019, bright as a button, chatting away and entertaining us like only he can.