Thanks to an outpouring of support from law enforcement members worldwide, an Indiana boy battling cancer has a big reason to persevere in the fight.
In July, 12-year-old Jeremiah Derks was diagnosed with cancer.
The boy has been through a whirlwind of stressful hospitalizations, countless medical appointments and treatments that have left him feeling pretty defeated from time to time.
But things started to turn around for Jeremiah’s discouraged heart when he got a surprise visit from a few Howard County sheriff’s deputies in Kokomo, Indiana.
The deputies made Jeremiah an honorary deputy and left him feeling encouraged.
Jeremiah received another visit, this time from a police officer in Kokomo who gifted him an embroidered police patch.
Knowing that he had law enforcement officers on his side gave Jeremiah a reason to smile, realizing that his larger community cared about his fight and recovery.
Jeremiah is motivated to continue his fight with cancer, and one day hopes to be a police officer himself.
“They’re friendly and they’re just pretty much heroes to everybody,” Jeremiah told WTTV.
While his long term career goal is still far away, Jeremiah has a current mission of collecting as many police patches as he can from law enforcement agencies worldwide.
Jeremiah’s parents, Alisha and Shannon Derks, got on board with their son’s vision, and put a plea on social media asking for police patches.
The results were beyond what the Derks family ever expected, with mail starting to flood in from around the country and even as far as Germany.
“It’s just been surprising, how many people can pull together so quickly like that,” said Jeremiah’s father Shannon.
Jeremiah’s parents have also been encouraged, watching firsthand as their son’s heart began to heal through the power of community.
“It’s truly amazing how everyone’s come together to support him,” said Alisha, Jeremiah’s mom.
“We can’t be more thankful because we honestly needed the help with him to keep him upbeat and positive.”
The Derks family is still receiving patches and encouraging cards for Jeremiah, all which fuel the boy’s determination to remain strong, and do all he can to beat cancer.
While Jeremiah looks up to law enforcement as heroes, it’s likely that the officers in Howard County view the brave young cancer fighter as a hero, too.
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