KOKOMO, Ind. - Officers from around the country have stepped up to make a Kokomo boy's goal a reality.
Departments heard about Jeremiah Derks' desire to collect police patches as he receives treatment for a rare form of cancer. Since October, Jeremiah has received thousands of those patches, along with regular visits from cops.
On Tuesday, Jeremiah went through the largest delivery he has gotten so far. A box was sent all the way from Miami Dade, Florida. Dispatchers and officers joined forces to collect all sorts of police items for Jeremiah.
"They don’t have to do these things," Jeremiah said. "But they do these things because they care."
In October, FOX59 shared Jeremiah's story and his wish to collect patches from all over the U.S.
The project is a welcome distraction for the young 12-year-old who is going through chemotherapy. He also had to undergo surgery on his leg a few weeks ago.
"We are just shocked by how much police have pulled together and supported him," said Shannon Derks, Jeremiah's dad.
The family has been in contact with many members of the law enforcement community. Miami Dade County dispatcher Annabel Lee was among those who heard about Jeremiah.
"She went all out and all the officers went all out and put that package together," said Alisha Derks, Jeremiah's mom. "It was just amazing."
Bags of patches arrived with personalized notes for Jeremiah from Florida officers. The package also included toys, baseball caps and a handmade blanket with the thin blue line.
Since last month, Jeremiah has welcomed many officers who stop by his house to spend time with him.
"I don’t get out much,"Jeremiah said. "Also when I do get out, I don’t normally get to walk around because of my leg. Whenever they’re here, they help me remember that I’m going to get better. The support and the company I really like."
"They come probably at least a couple times a week from different areas," said Alisha Derks.
The family says they now feel a strong attachment to the law enforcement community.
For now, Jeremiah continues getting regular chemotherapy treatment. The family hopes to get an update on the status of his cancer in a few months.