(UPDATED Wednesday, Dec. 19, 5:14 p.m.) Police officers from around the state are headed to Virginia today to deliver cards to Nathan Norman. You can follow them at the Wellesley Police Department site at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/beta-test-channel)
Nathan Norman is only 6 years old, but for more than half his life he has had to deal with a cruel disease—cancer. Three years ago, the Rustburg, Va. boy developed a brain tumor, of which 55 percent was removed through an operation. Later, an inoperable tumor was found on his spinal cord. Doctors say he has 18 months left to live.
This story of unbelievable sadness has some moments of happiness. Nathan's Christmas wish is to receive as many cards, letters and patches as possible from police officers, firefighters and EMTs—people who are his heroes. Not only is that wish being fulfilled, the gifts will be given in person this Thursday by officers from 83 agencies, including the Seekonk Police Department.
"Our department has signed a card to bring to Nathan," wrote Seekonk police Capt. Craig Mace in an email to Seekonk Patch. "Additionally, a couple of our officers worked on a book about our department for Nathan. It is absolutely outstanding. It will also be signed and delivered to Nathan. We will also be sending gifts for Nathan's three siblings."
The Seekonk officials traveling to Virginia are Officers Eric Chalifoux and Shaun Kelley and Detective Thomas Hedrick. Mace said the town is paying for the fuel expenses. All other costs, including lodging and meals, will be covered by the Seekonk Police FOP Lodge 5 and the Seekonk Police Honor Guard. They will also pay for several replacement shifts for the officers.
"I am proud to say the members of the Seekonk Police Department have provided overwhelming support of this effort and wish there was more they could do," Mace said. "I should note, this support comes from the top and goes right through front line patrol officers."
Nathan's mother Dawn Norman told New Milford Patch that her son is "a brave warrior" who has "taught me so much through his love, strength and faith." She said he likes to do things to make other young cancer patients feel better, including making them gift bags.
His story has touched the hearts of people throughout the nation, with many paying him visits. Nathan has also attended a Christmas tree lighting ceremony with the governor and he was invited by the Secret Service to be a guest at President Barack Obama's January inauguration.
Not only are people nationwide showing love for this boy, he is also appreciated in his neighborhood, as shown in this story reported by New Milford Patch:
This August, feeling especially ill after returning from his monthly treatment at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, Nathan asked his parents if they could decorate the house for Christmas because "that would make him feel better." Knowing that this might be his last Christmas, Nathan's family put up the tree, strung the lights and put out all the decorations.
Wanting to join in the spirit, Nathan's neighbors decorated their yards and strung their outdoor lights to make, what might be, Nathan's last Christmas really spectacular.