Small World: Granite City ministry rallies around Australian boy with cerebral palsy

Henry Larwood had surgery at St. Louis Children's Hospital so he can walk

Brad Choat
February 19, 2019 - 8:11 am

Brad Choat/KMOX

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GRANITE CITY, Ill. (KMOX) — A trip across the world to St. Louis Children's Hospital didn't seem so daunting for a South Australian family when they got a text from a Granite City minister.

United Methodist Pastor Mike Rayson is an Australian native who grew up in the small rural town of Kimba, which happens to be the hometown of the Larwood family and 7-year-old Henry Larwood, who has cerebral palsy.

Tim Larwood/used with permission
Henry Larwood had surgery here in Saint Louis so he could be able to walk. But before they flew to St. Louis, the Larwoods got a boost from Pastor Rayson.

"It was so good...you couldn't even write a movie about the plot," Tim Larwood told KMOX's Brad Choat. "It was unbelievable. About a week before we fly out, we get a message from (Pastor) Rayson and sure enough, here we are. He's been amazing. He picked us up from the airport and he had a HEAP of groceries."

That's not all Pastor Rayson did for the Larwoods.

"He had our kids while Henry had his surgery so we didn't have to worry about where they were," Danielle Larwood told KMOX News.

And those weren't the only surprises the Larwoods got from Pastor Rayson. Australian prime minister Scott Morrison sent a note to Granite City pastor Mike Rayson to deliver to the Larwood family, urging Henry to "go get 'em".

"To get that letter was a bit of a sit-back moment!" Tim Larwood reacted. "I suppose I have to vote for him now!"

Tim Larwood/used with permission

The note also thanked Rayson - a native of the small South Australia hometown as the Larwood family -  for his generosity and hospitality, as well as his congregation's help.

Tim Larwood says Henry is doing great with his post-surgery physical therapy at St. Louis Children's Hospital. The reason the Larwoods chose to come to St. Louis for the surgery was because of Dr. T.S. Park, who is world-renowed for performing surgery on young patients with spastic cerebral palsy.

One of the favorite things the family's gotten to do while in town is attend a St. Louis Blues hockey game.

The Larwoods return home to Australia later this week.