Thursday morning, 100 police cruisers transporting more than 250 police officers from 85 departments drove on to the campus of Liberty University to helped deliver Christmas a little early for a Virgina boy battling brain cancer.
On Wednesday, those police officers left Massachusetts and New Hampshire, all with the goal of putting a smile on Nathan Norman's face.
Like most little boys, Nathan, 5, loves to watch cops, firefighters and EMT's speed to calls in shiny cars and trucks — sirens blaring and lights flashing — making no stops as they race to save people.
While battling cancer since 2009, earlier this year it became a bit more aggressive and Nathan asked to put up his Christmas tree early and for first responders to send him cards, letters and patches.
Instead of just sending cards, Burlington Sgt McDonough has the idea for police to travel to the boy's hometown in Virginia to meet the him in person and hand deliver more than just cards.
Among the police officers, who traveled more than 10 hours to Virginia, were Framingham Police Officer Sean Riley and Sergeant Lester Baker. Riley said the police chief gave permission for the two officers to travel and take a cruiser.
The Framingham Police Association paid for the entire trip - the gas, food and the hotel, said Riley.
Each department had its own unique gift for the little boy.
Framingham Police named him an honorary police officer and presented him with Framingham Police patches in a frame, said Riley.
Riley said they went to Framed in Time in Saxonville to frame the police, honor guard and SWAT patches.
When they heard what we were doing and whom it was for, said Riley, they donated their work and the frame for free.
Riley, who is a father of three young boys, said the event was very moving for him too.
"I think they were shocked by the sheer numbers of people who made their way down," said Riley. "They were very appreciative."
A 20-year veteran of the police department, Riley said this one of his proudest moments.
While the day was very emotional for the family and the police officers, they all laughed as Nathan gave commands to all the officers lined up, ala Simon Says. He called them to attention and even to hop on one foot. The officers are complied.
The family while very grateful for the gesture by police this week, but they continue to help others in the same situation as them and to keep fighting for Nathan.
"Some have said Nathan is dying with cancer. He is not. He is living with it he is living each day to the fullest," Dawn Norman said to ABC 13 News "We know, we know what is going to happen when the medicine runs out. We know what is going to happen if God doesn't choose to heal him. But he is living every day to the fullest and he is enjoying every moment."
The New England officers returned with Christmas bags from Nathan to children fighting cancer here in Massachusetts. His family has been delivering those bags to children at other hospitals over the last couple of weeks, reported ABC 13 News.
This week's visit from police was a special event in the young boy's life and he'll have another one next month.
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