LEGOLAND Discovery Center honors Phoenix boy who died

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

He loved Legos. So much, that 8-year-old Alex Hernandez was over the moon when he was surprised with a birthday party at LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Tempe last year.

Alex was in and out of hospitals most of his life as he fought a rare type of brain tumor called ependymoma.

So this was a dream come true, thanks in part to HopeKids.

The non-profit organization teamed up with LEGOLAND Discovery to host an Ultimate LEGO Superhero Birthday party. It was a party to remember for Alex, and some 30 family and friends.   

That is one of the reasons the play place is so special to Alex's family. It's even more special now. Monday, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Arizona dedicated an octopus structure outside the facility to Alex.

Sadly, Alex wasn't there to witness it. The little boy who loved legos, soccer and school, died in October, four months ago to the day. 

Alex's mom, Xochil Lopez, was at the special dedication ceremony, along with other family members. "He loved this place," she said with a smile remembering the memories they created here. "I bet you Alex is dancing up in heaven and will be dancing around the octopus later."        

LEGOLAND Discovery Center General Manager Joanna Hobday said she and the staff were touched by Alex when he had his birthday party there last year.

Despite his cancer, he loved life. The play place may have given Alex an escape from the hospitals, surgeries and chemotherapy treatments, but Alex gave them more. "Alex the Octopus will be here for years to come to spread happiness and joy, just like Alex did every day."

Now, Alex's memory will live on at the attraction, with a plaque displaying his name.

 After the dedication, LEGOLAND Discovery Center hosted the family for a day of fun and celebrating Alex.     

Lopez pointed out Feb. 8 was Alex's birthday. He would have turned 8 on Feb. 8. It would have been his golden birthday.

Coincidence an octopus has eight legs? Lopez thinks not. She says it's a sign that everything's going to be OK.

"He was a fighter, 100 percent he never gave up," Lopez said with tears coming down her face. "I'm honored to say he was my son, I'm truly blessed."

Lopez said Alex didn't lose the fight. He won the battle. Alex is now cancer free.

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