by Cheryl Piccio, ABS-CBN News
HOUSTON, TX — For most children, the holiday season is the most exciting time of the year, even for the many youngsters undergoing medical treatment due to long-term health problems.
One of them is Fil-Am Ethan helms, who was diagnosed back in February with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
“It has been a tough 11 months of a long fight, but it looks like it will be a lot easier from this point,” says his father Marcos Helms.
Recently, a local charity named ‘Stuff the Sleigh’ helped brighten Ethan’s holiday by making one of his dreams come true.
“He always wanted to be a policeman,” said mother Carissa. “So when Nichole at Stuff the Sleigh called and asked if Ethan would be interested in this event, I said of course it would such an honor.”
“Stuff the Sleigh” is a non-profit organization that works to support pediatric cancer and hematology patients and their families through Christmas giving.
“Not only do we help the patient, but we help each member of the family. Which is really at the core of what we do,” said executive director Nicole Normandin.
Through a partnership between stuff the sleigh and the Bellaire Police Officer’s Association, Ethan traded in his shots and chemotherapy for a day of cop-related activities, complete with a custom uniform, whistle, badge, and nameplate.
After touring the police department, Ethan and his new team went out on patrol in a vintage 1950s police car, even pulling over an officer posing as a shady suspect to make the experience all the more realistic.
At the end of the day, a swearing in ceremony made it official.
“It was a surprise, we did not know he was going to be sworn in as an honorary police officer by an actual judge.”
Ethan’s family says that the experience provided from both the police and ‘Stuff the Sleigh’ helped their son after a year of medical treatment.
“It was a really big deal and a big honor for Ethan and our family.”
“We want to make sure we are helping everyone in the family,” saidNormandin. “Because when someone in the family is diagnosed with cancer, it not only changes the patient’s life, but it changes the life of every single person in the family.”
The Helms family looks forward to experiencing more of the joys of Christmas together, creating happy memories, and gaining strength from one another other. It’s medicine that’s good not just for Ethan, but for the entire family.