Little Boy Walks Into Fire Station With A Note, While Reading The Fireman Starts Crying

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When this little boy walked into the station, all the firemen stopped in their tracks. But when he ran towards one man in particular, they all knew what was happening. The boy gave the firefighter in question a note, and when he opened it, tears started to well up in his eyes. He couldn’t believe the boy had returned.

Jim was stumped by this. Who was this young man? He didn’t immediately recognize him. Before he could say or ask anything, the boy gave Jim a somewhat crumpled piece of paper. He was smiling from ear to ear while doing this, and Jim quickly opened the note to see what was written on it. He couldn’t believe what he was reading. Tears started welling up in Jim’s eyes, and his lips started to quiver. It can’t be. How did he not immediately recognize the boy? Jim started hugging the boy tightly and refused to let go.

To better understand Jim’s emotional reaction, a bit of backstory is required. Jim Grim was born and raised in New York City and was the captain of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY). This was no surprise, as he came from a family of firefighters. Jim had recently suffered a tragedy at work that had left him confused about his future. He didn’t know if he could go through something like that again. Jim had recently lost a good man on his team, a young firefighter who had only recently joined the department.

The FDNY has over 10,000 firefighters working all over the area at various stations. Out of all the firefighters who could have been on the scene that day, Jim just happened to be in the right place at the right time to experience something too powerful for words. Suddenly, a young boy walked up to him with a special request.

The young boy’s name was Tucker Dukes. Tucker and his mother had been staying in New York at the Ronald McDonald House. They were returning from an outing when Tucker noticed the FDNY firefighters nearby. He was so excited. After all, Tucker had a bit of an unusual pastime. Tucker and his mom were planning to head home soon when they saw Jim returning to his vehicle at the scene of the call. They approached Jim and struck up a conversation. Tucker said that he had a special request.

Captain Jim was curious as to what the little boy would ask. Tucker explained that he loved firefighters more than anything in the world. His mother Sarah nodded in agreement, telling Jim that her son was fascinated by the fire service. Sarah told Jim that Tucker collected all kinds of truck and little ornaments related to firefighting. He wasn’t all that interested in any other toys or subjects. The fire service was a huge part of his young life. Jim pointed out that Tucker’s clothing alone showed that his interest was more than just a fleeting one. He asked Sarah why Tucker had developed such a strong interest at such a young age. The answer floored him.

Sarah explained that her husband Joshua was also a firefighter. Tucker had grown up hearing about it and visiting his dad at the station. Jim was touched because it reminded him of his own family and how many of them had served together in the fire department. But when Jim asked if Sarah’s husband was part of the FDNY, he got an answer he never expected. Sarah told Jim that they were from Maui, Hawaii, and would be returning there in about a week to reunite with her husband. The captain and the other firefighters smiled and wanted to know what the request was, but they all wondered silently why Tucker was in New York instead of in school in Hawaii.

Sarah guessed that they would be curious, so she explained. “Tucker has neuroblastoma. He was diagnosed about two years ago.” She explained that young Tucker had been diagnosed at the age of 1 year and 7 months. They’d spent the last 19 months in treatment in New York, and now it was time to go home. Doctors could only try to manage the cancer, which is why Tucker had come to New York for care. The captain and his men wanted to know why Tucker was leaving. Was he cured? Sarah shook her head. Tucker’s cancer was now in stage four, and the family wanted to be together.

Unfortunately for Tucker, the cancer wasn’t the only thing taking its toll on his body. Tucker’s medication was also difficult for him to tolerate. The doctors tried everything they could think of. He had gone through chemo three times and had two surgeries, all in the hopes of trying to remove the tumor. Sadly, none of the treatments were working. Instead of putting her son through that, Sarah decided to take Tucker home to be with his family.

After hearing Tucker’s story, Captain Jim was even more curious to know the young boy’s request. Tucker’s special request was to be a firefighter. Captain Jim stared at the young boy for a moment and then hugged him. He nodded and said, “Of course.” The other firefighters were equally touched and wanted to do anything they could to help. He talked to his co-workers and thought about it. Finally, he had an idea. Jim hurried to implement his plan before Sarah and Tucker were scheduled to finish his last treatment and fly home to Hawaii.

The FDNY Captain talked to others in the department and set a date for Tucker’s ceremony to become an honorary firefighter. Jim was shocked to hear that they’d have some very special guests attending as well. Jim learned that Tucker’s father Joshua and some of their other relatives were flying to New York to see the ceremony. He wanted everything to be perfect so badly that he found himself worrying about what could go wrong. What if he got called away by an emergency in the middle of it?

A few days later, Tucker also celebrated his birthday with his family and the FDNY firefighters. Tucker’s wish was fulfilled. The family decided it was time to make another important decision, one that would hurt them to share with their loved ones. The Duke family knew the heavy toll Tucker’s medications were taking on him. “We were trying so hard to keep him alive, and the thing that was meant to help wasn’t letting him live.” Together, Sarah, Jim, and Tucker broke the news to their loved ones that they were ending Tucker’s treatment. But that wasn’t all.

After choosing to end Tucker’s cancer treatment, the family decided to live life to the fullest as long as they could. They posted their journey and called it the Tucker Tough Challenge. There were still so many amazing things that Tucker could see and experience. Tucker and his family traveled across the globe, even heading up to Whistler, British Columbia, to learn how to sled. With a bigger family and medical bills to worry about, Jim and Sarah knew it would be a challenge to afford all of these trips and activities. Still, it was worth it just to see how happy Tucker was.

But there was another shock in store for Tucker’s family, waiting around the corner. The Tucker Tough Challenge soon went viral, and the Duke family was overwhelmed with support from all over the world. Many people streamed and donated to their cause and were glad to see Tucker having fun in his very last moments. Some even hoped Tucker would beat the cancer by some miracle.

Sadly, Tucker passed away less than a year later in his mother’s house as they both rested in their home. Hawaii residents, he had fulfilled his dream of becoming an honorary firefighter and had the opportunity to spend time with his family. Even though it was painful to say goodbye, they wanted to celebrate Tucker’s life as well. They never expected what happened next.

The firefighters at home in Hawaii and in New York City were incredibly saddened by the loss of the young boy. They all sent their well-wishes to Tucker’s siblings and parents. Some of them wanted to do even more to honor Tucker’s memory. But what could they possibly do? The firefighters in Hawaii banded together and created a beautiful memorial mural for Tucker. Joshua and Sarah were floored by the amount of support they received after Tucker’s death.

But that wasn’t all. The second thing the firefighters did was add Tucker’s name to their official register. That would ensure that Tucker lived on in the memory of the fire service as well. His father Joshua took great comfort in the fact that his son would appear alongside his own name on the register. Joshua knew that the best thing he could do to keep Tucker close to his heart was to continue working as a firefighter, doing the job his son had loved so much.

Although a few years have passed, both Sarah and Joshua continue to raise awareness for neuroblastoma and advocate for less harsh treatment use on young children like Tucker. “I don’t know what I’ll be doing in the future, but I hope someday these harsh treatments won’t be used on someone else’s baby,” Sarah said.

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