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A Christmas Wish For A Dying Boy

Six-year old Nathan Norman has terminal cancer and is reaching out to policemen, firemen and all emergency service workers to fulfill his final Christmas wish.

The only thing on Dawn Norman's wish list this holiday season is that her 6-year old son Nathan lives to see another Christmas, and that his wish of receiving cards, letters and patches from as many policemen, firemen and EMT's is fulfilled. Why? Because policemen, firemen and EMT's happen to be Nathan's heroes.

Three years ago, Nathan, who lives with his family in Rustburg, Virginia, was diagnosed with brain cancer.

"I remember the doctor saying that there was an abnormality," Dawn Norman remembers. "The doctor kept telling me over and over that there was an abnormality and then it hit me. He was telling me that my son had cancer."  

An operation removed 55 percent of the tumor; however, Nathan has since developed an inoperable tumor on his spinal cord. Since his original diagnosis, he has been on six different chemotherapy treatments and has had three surgeries.

Like most little boys, Nathan loves to watch cops, firemen 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. 

This Christmas, Nathan is calling upon these heroes to make his wish come true by sending him cards, letters and patches —anything with a first responder insignia.

Nathan's story was brought to Patch by Walt Hutchinson, an officer with the Bergen County Sheriff's Department, who learned about it from Sgt. Robert Carpentieri of the Virginia State Police.

"One of our life-saving crew members told us Nathan's story and said it would be a nice gesture to send him a card," Carpentieri said.

Carpentieri not only sent a card, but sent emails to almost every first responder he knew to do the same.

"I couldn't believe how viral this went," he said in amazement. "Everyone who heard Nathan's story, helped to spread the word."

Agencies across the state of Virginia—local, county, state and federal--heeded the call and sent Nathan cards, letters and patches. 

"As long as Nathan is here, I want to do anything I can to make that little boy happy," Carpentieri said.

New Milford Chief of Police Frank Papapietro has shared Nathan's story with the officers of the New Milford Police Department and the Bergen County Police Chiefs Association to have them join in on fulfilling Nathan's Christmas wish.  

"When you hear a story like this, it's impossible not to think that this could be your child," Papapietro said. "The officers of the New Milford Police Department will do everything they can to make Nathan's wish come true."

This August, feeling especially ill after returning from his monthly treatment at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, Nathan asked his parents if they could decorate the house for Christmas because "that would make him feel better." Knowing that this might be his last Christmas, Nathan's family put up the tree, strung the lights and put out all the decorations.

Wanting to join in the spirit, Nathan's neighbors decorated their yards and strung their outdoor lights to make, what might be, Nathan's last Christmas really spectacular.

"Nathan is such a brave warrior," his mother Dawn told Patch. "He has taught me so much through his love, strength and faith."

Putting his own pain aside, Nathan likes to make gift bags for the other pediatric cancer patients he meets during his monthly treatment travels to Duke University Medical Center. His mother said that he likes to do things to make the other cancer patients feel better.

Despite the monthly treatments and chemotherapy medication, Norman said that doctors have given Nathan 18 months to live.

"I want to make sure that everyone understands that we do not expect to lose Nathan before Christmas this year," Norman said. "However we know with each end of treatment, our options are getting less and less. We fully believe he will be with us for Christmas."

Then she added, "We just don't know about next Christmas."

All cards, letters and patches can be sent to Nathan at:

Nathan Norman, 81 Dunivan Drive, Rustburg, Virginia 24588

MRBIG RED December 02, 2012 at 05:34 PM
If someone has the capability to contact this young man's family or his physicians with the following information, please do so. There is a surgeon who has operated on difficult, aggressive cancers of the brain and spine with great success. He successfully operated on a friend of mine that was told by other doctors to "get her affairs in order", and that her tumor was inoperable. Here is his info: Ramesh P Babu, MD, MBBS, BS Neurological Surgeon 30 years of experience 530 1st Ave Ste 700 New York, NY 10016 (212) 263-7481 God, I hope he can help this child....please keep me in the loop. Best regards, MR. BIG RED mrbigred.nyusa@yahoo.com
Dianna Wachtel December 04, 2012 at 01:41 AM
We are praying for Nathan and his family. We got word of this all the way here in AZ. Our police department is rooting for you Nathan! God bless the Norman family!
John Dillon December 04, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Prayers to Nathan and his family. Pappy, Retired Police Detective, Vice Pres of the Albany, NY Chapter of the Renegade Pigs, MC (present and retired police/fire officers). God Bless the Norman Family...
joe m December 04, 2012 at 06:37 PM
God bless you Nathan. Fight the good fight and never give up hope.
DANICA ACOSTA December 04, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Everyone of us has a gift we bring to earth...and lessons we show others as we are here. Unfortunately in those left behind, we miss those that have to go before us. Nathan...you are such a grand messanger...there's a special appointed place for you in God's Kingdom. I will pray for you and ALL THOSE that are around and love you and are good to you. I don't know you...but I love you as well. I'm married to one of those Super Heroes...He's a City of Miami Fire Captain...and I call him "The Dragon Slayer" and "Earth Angel". We will be sending you a patch and you're now in our prayers. xoxo Danica Acosta... Florida
SIMONE A OLIVA December 04, 2012 at 10:49 PM
THIS IS AMAZING THIS YOUNG MAN IS FIGHTING CANCER ON A DAILY BASIS STRUGGLING TO STAY ALIVE AND ALL HE WANTS ARE SOME PATCHES AND PINS OF FIRST RESPONDERS WELL LITTLE NATHAN YOUR WISH HAS REACHED NEW YORK CITY MY BROTHER AND HIS FRIENDS ARE HEADING TO VIRGINIA TOMMOROW TO BRING YOU YOUR WISH ALONG WITH MY 8 POINT DUTY HAT WITH THE HAT SHIELD IN WHICH I SO PROUDLY WORE FOR 11 YEARS BEFORE BEING HURT AND RETIRED THAT HAT SAT ABOVE MY TV FOR THE LAST YEAR UNTIL TODAY WHEN I READ YOUR STORY NOW I KNOW IT WILL BE PROUDLY DISPLAYED AT THIS YOUNG MANS HANDS YOU SHOULD PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK YOUNG MAN YOUR AN INSPIRATION TO MANY FIRST RESPONDERS KEEP UP THE FIGHT AND YOU ARE IN OUR THOUGHTS GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY SIMONE OLIVA RET N.Y.C. POLICE DEPT STATEN ISLAND N.Y.
Beth December 05, 2012 at 12:02 AM
send your md info to the address provided above for the cards and patches always worth getting 2nd and 3rd etc opinions...
Yhvh Elect December 05, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Have contacted police and firefighters in georgia concerning this child. They would like to contact him by phone to speak with him. Hope I can get his home number to pass along to the cheif firefighter. He told me if he was in georgia they would drive their fire trucks to his home
Yhvh Elect December 05, 2012 at 01:24 AM
Simone Oliva. God bless you. I know he will.
Ann Piccirillo December 05, 2012 at 02:23 AM
You can email me privately at annpiccirillo@yahoo.com and I will give you that information.
Ann Piccirillo December 05, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Thank you Simone! And thank you to everyone who has taken Nathan's story to heart.
Rick Loppnow December 05, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Will be contacting as many Wisconsin agencies as I can. God bless you Nathan and I am sure you will be in the hearts of all the law enforcement, EMT's and us firefighters that hear your story and the HEROIC way you help others. As a captain on my fire department, you Nathan are my hero!
Sue Snapp-McGown December 05, 2012 at 06:58 AM
"...Sending you prayers all the way from Berkeley County Sheriff's Department - Martinsburg West Virginia .." ~LT D.S.McGown ~
bryan December 05, 2012 at 07:44 AM
Got you covered little buddy, ill be sending you my police patch, a dare police t shirt, and I'm going to send you one of my police uniform shirts. God bless you because I have twin 6 yr old boys at home.
Bill Crescenzo December 05, 2012 at 09:50 PM
This young man reminds me so much of myself when I was a little boy. I always wanted to be a Police Officer. Well 50 years later I'm a retired Sergeant from the New York City Police Department. I worked the meanest streets in NYC and this story brings tears to my eyes. Well Nathan I am putting a package together to send to you., a real NYPD Duty Shirt, and Shield which is a copy of the one I wore. I also contacted the Grand Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police and requested that they make you an Honorary Member. I know you are a brave young man just like Police Officers are, NEVER give up, Miracles really do happen..
Ann Piccirillo December 05, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Bill, thank you so much! What a wonderful addition you're adding to his story.
Robert Mulligan December 06, 2012 at 02:42 AM
These are the little things that make this job so worth it. Best wishes little brother.
Billy December 06, 2012 at 09:51 PM
What size t-shirts? FDNY t shirts coming your way Nathan . Keep fighting so you can come visit the firehouse
Michael Wielgus December 07, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Nathan, I think you are an amazing little boy. To be going through what you are going through and to only ask for patches and first responder items is a remarkable request. I am a police officer in New Jersey and will be sending a package your way. My son is also going through a battle with cancer he has a recurring Germ Cell Brain tumor for the 4th time. He is a 16 year old boy. he has endured 4 surgies and countless rounds of chemotherapy. I want you to keep the faith and you and your family will be added to my thoughts and prayers. Our family saying is hope, faith, courage. Stay strong and if you need anything email me at officerduck@verizon.net.
Chelsea December 08, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Hi Nathan!! I think you are an incredible little man! We have tons of Christmas cards coming your way from all the firefighters and paramedics in Sacramento, California!
Dupli Envelope December 08, 2012 at 04:29 AM
Hello Nathan..we have your precious self and your family lifted in prayer...I pray total healing...restoration of your body and total recovery...Gods got this!!! Kim O'Brien Friends of the East Syracuse Police East Syracuse NY 13057
amanda kernan December 08, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Hello nathan, i am a wife of a police officer and i am very proud of you. You are so strong just like police officers and first responders. The steeleville police department here in illinois has a really cool package of stuff for you!!! Hang in there sweetie we are all rooting for you!!! If you need or want anything you can email me. At mandykernan@gmail.com
Sara December 12, 2012 at 09:11 PM
DC Federal law enforcement is mailing cards and items and sending prayers your way. I hope at some point someone can post an article with a photo of Nathan amongst stacks of cards etc from all whom have flooded this amazing child with his wish.
R. Lauritzen December 15, 2012 at 09:24 AM
Nathan, little brother, I sent you a care package to include a gang unit shirt, a police patch, a challenge coin and of course my business card ( in case u get into trouble flash it and hopefully it gets u out of a speeding ticket). Keep fighting the good fight I am proud of you. Hey just so u know, i got your picture in my gang unit car and everytime I hit the road, you're right there with me partner. My prayers go out to you and your family. Stray strong and the Police Department from Chandler Az is praying for you.
Mary Gagnon December 16, 2012 at 05:09 AM
Greetings from Canada...For Nathan little buddy....My name is Mary and I live in Thunder Bay Ontario...I am a supporter of Leonard Peltier...His cuz sent me a email and told me allll aboat you..So I went out looking for a Xmas Card for you...I looked and looked and finally found one that I know you will like.You have a kind heart little buddy and God bless you for that...Am sending angels and prayers to help you heal...I believe in marcles....I put your story on my facebook little buddy...Am going to send you a post card of Sleeping Giant here in Thunder bay...God bless you and your family...your new friend Mary G....we shall keep in touch....take care
Chris Finley December 17, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Sending you a Paramedic patch from San Diego right now buddy
william Bresnak December 17, 2012 at 05:12 PM
I'll be sending t-shirts and patches and I will make him an honorary chief in my company. Chief 1801 kidder twp. Pa
David Montgomery December 17, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Firestone Police Department: Police patch is on its way little buddy...
Erma Calderon Loft December 17, 2012 at 07:24 PM
My Lord's Child Nathan, My Daughter Bianca Dart is in your Guardian Angel. She has let us know about your illness. I just want to say that you are OUR Hero and you will always stay in our hearts. I am sending you The real deal The Fire Cheif's Badge that was given to me at Fairchild Air Force Base for raising over $3,000.00 to feed the less fortunate. I always knew that someday this Badge would mean more to someone else than me. Please wear it and know that this represents many Airmen that have been as strong as you. We Love You and Most of all God Loves You.
mike B December 21, 2012 at 07:14 AM
Nathan you are a child of God and he will be with you always. Keep fighting and Never Give Up! We are extremely proud of you here at the New Brunswick Police Department Platoon A. We have a package coming your way from New Brunswick New Jersey, Little Buddy. I will be praying for you Brother. God Bless, LT. Mike Bobadilla

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