When he was just one year old, a boy named Trucker Dukes was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer known as neuroblastoma.
This brave little boy fought against the horrible disease for two long years, but sadly, his fragile body gave up and he passed away.
Everyone who knew him personally or got to hear his story says how he was truly a special little boy who never lost the ability to smile and make everyone around happy even during the roughest of times.
During his short life, Trucker’s biggest wish of becoming friends with the firefighters that he admired so much came true.
The members of the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) made sweet Trucker’s days fun and memorable.
Trucker was receiving his chemo treatments in New York and that was when he fell in love with what these people did. One time, he and his mom Shauna even witnessed the firefighters responding to an incident, and Trucker got even more fascinated with them than before.
When he saw the firefighters rushing to answer the call for help, Trucker couldn’t help it but approach and say hello.
“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,” FDNY Captain Jim Grismer told the Huffington Post.
Trucker’s dad, Joshua Dukes, is a firefighter himself and he was the one who taught Trucker about the work of firefighters in the first place. He works in Maui, Hawaii, which is where the family is from.
May 31, 2016 was the most special day in the life of the Dukes’ family, because it was then that Trucker was sworn in as a FDNY Junior Firefighter, according to ABC News.
“He actually thinks he’s a firefighter in New York. We’ve had unbelievable support from firefighters all across the world, actually,” Shauna told ABC News.
The family started the social media campaign #TruckerToughChallenge where they would post of the boy’s condition, but they eventually decided to stop with the treatments and try to treat him nutritionally. They also believed it was important for them to spend all their time around Trucker and make as many memories as they could.
Trucker left this world on March 3, 2017 in his mom’s arms.
“Trucker’s passing has been the hardest experience you can imagine. Now we get to celebrate his extraordinary life,” his mother Shauna said in a statement to ABC News.
The passing of Trucker broke the hearts of his fellow firefighters and his entire family who are now doing their best to raise awareness about paediatric cancer.
“I don’t know what the future looks like for us, but I’ll never stop raising awareness. Hopefully, one day there’s something less toxic and not as harsh for someone else’s baby,” Shauna told The Maui News.
The headstone of the little fighter speaks of his love for firefighters and his courage and bravery.
“It’s so strange because I’m somehow comforted that your headstone is installed now and honors you and your legendary life, but heartbroken because no matter how many times I visit your grave I know you’re not here with us.
“I miss you so much kiddo. It feels like I have a hole ripped in my heart,” the dad’s post read.
Please share Trucker’s story so that everyone knows how sweet and brave he was.
We pray for every child out there who is fighting against cancer and we wish they all end up winners.