Stories of child death are always heart-breaking but it’s also rare that we find something to smile about in them. One such story was the case of Trucker Dukes – a terminally ill toddler that met his FDNY firefighter heroes before he passed away.
Trucker was 3-years-old and he was from Maui, Hawaii. At the age of 1, he was diagnosed with a stage 4 neuroblastoma which is a type of childhood cancer. He passed away two years after his diagnosis in his home in Hawaii as we learned from his Facebook page – Team Trucker (1).
What gives this story a tiny bit of silver lining is that before he died, Trucker had the chance to meet his heroes from the Fire Department of the City of New York (NYFD) (2). What’s more, Trucker was also named an honorary junior firefighter by the FDNY as well.
“Trucker’s passing has been the hardest experience you can imagine. Now we get to celebrate his extraordinary life,” Trucker’s mom, Shauna Dukes said in front of ABC News (3).
Trucker had the chance to meet his heroes while he was receiving treatment in New York City after his diagnosis. The firefighters were responding to a call at the Ronald McDonald House where the boy was staying at the time.
FDNY captain Jim Grismer shared this about the boy in front of the Huffington Post (4):
“I see this little boy excitedly walking towards me with his eyes aglow. I opened my arms and he basically climbed up and hugged me around the neck. It was as if we’ve been friends/brothers for years,”
Sadly, young Trucker couldn’t fight past the disease but at least his family and friends managed to make a lot of wonderful memories for him along the way – both during treatments in New York and at home in Maui.