It’s a tough job being police chief of Detroit. But that’s the dream gig a young cancer patient got to experience for a day, when he stepped up to stand watch over his beloved Motor City on Friday.
Jayvon Felton, 9, learned he had acute lymphoblastic leukemia last April, and while his treatments have been tough and he faces three years of chemotherapy, his bright spirit has not been dimmed.
Wearing a small navy S.W.A.T. uniform bearing his name and a shiny gold badge, Jayvon was picked up at home in a police cruiser, treated to a ride-along and then dropped off by helicopter to meet the real city police chief, James Craig, who helped swear the boy into office, the Huffington Post reports.
His personality shone through when he conducted his own police press conference. “You got any orders?” Chief Craig joked. “Take the day off,” Jayvon quickly responded.
His mom said that while some children idolize celebrities, her boy admires law enforcement officers.
“When he was little, he always talked about the police, how they make things safe,” Amanda Clinkscales said. “He told me, ‘Mom, when I get older I want to fight crime and help people.’ ”
Jayvon’s classmates and principal from Roberto Clemente Academy also joined him at the station for a pizza party – a welcome treat as he can’t currently attend classes and must be home-schooled because of his weakened immune system.
The little boy’s dream day was arranged by Children’s Hospital of Michigan with help from the Detroit Police Department, and his bravery and character in fighting his disease warmed the hearts of the officers who met him on Friday. His prognosis, they learned, is also good.
“I can only imagine the strength and courage it takes for this young man, police chief, to fight this illness every day,” Craig told the Detroit Free Press.
The chief also praised Jayvon’s mother for helping the boy, who has lost his hair and about 40 pounds, to stay positive as he gets treated.
“It is with this fortitude and courage that humbles even the most hardened police officers and reminds us of why we do what we do every day and how important every precious moment is.”