He’s always loved cops. Now a boy fighting a rare blood disease has been deputized after spending a day with them.

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Chicago, IL: The Chicago Police Department has made a dream come true through the Make-a-Wish Foundation for a 4-year-old Chicago boy suffering from a rare blood disorder.

The 4-year-old boy, named Khalil, has been fascinated by the police and police work.

He recently spent an entire day with members from the Chicago Police Department where he learned about many aspects of law enforcement, the equipment police use and, most importantly, was deputized as a member of the police department in a touching ceremony.

He's always loved cops.  Now a boy fighting a rare blood disease has been deputized after spending a day with them.
Khalil is presented with a badge in a ceremony. Screenshot image taken from WGN News YouTube channel.

Khalil got a behind-the-scenes look at what daily life is like in a Chicago police precinct. The police escorts also took him to the academy, where it all starts for a police officer.

Although Khalil was timid and quiet in front on the cameras on scene, his parents knew he was elated.

Khalil’s mom, Tasha Parker-Hall told a local media outlet, and stated:

“He’s [Khalil] obsessed with police, so when we’re riding in the car and he sees the police, he’s like [look] ‘POLICE, POLICE.”

He's always loved cops.  Now a boy fighting a rare blood disease has been deputized after spending a day with them.
Screenshot image of WGN News YouTube Channel

With the visit, Khalil was able to dig deep into his fascination with police.

Khalil’s father, Vernon Cotton, also told the local media outlet in an interview, and stated:

“[We’re] really blessed, I’m proud… happy.”

Khalil’s Blood Disorder

Khalil was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder, Sickle Cell Disease.

Sickle cell disease is inherited in the genes and is a condition where the red blood cells are not the proper shape. Normal red blood cells are round.

With Sickle cell disease, the red blood cells take on a ‘crescent shape’, making it more difficult to function properly.

He's always loved cops.  Now a boy fighting a rare blood disease has been deputized after spending a day with them.
Screenshot taken from kidshealth.org

The unusual shape causes the red blood cells to stick together and may cause blockage in small blood vessels. The blockage often leads to discomfort, pain and even organ damage.

The family takes measures to treat the disease to make life a bit more tolerable.

According to Khalil’s mom, Tasha, she said in an interview:

“He gets blood transfusions once a month to minimize [chances] of getting a stroke.”

The Make- A- Wish Foundation

The foundation has been helping children dealing with life-threatening diseases. According to their website and their mission, it states:

“This one belief guides us in everything we do at Make-A-Wish. It inspires us to grant life-changing wishes for children going through so much.”

It continues:

“It compels us to be creative in exceeding the expectations of every wish kid. It drives us to make our donated resources go as far as possible. Most of all, it’s the founding principle of our vision to grant the wish of every eligible child.”

He's always loved cops.  Now a boy fighting a rare blood disease has been deputized after spending a day with them.
Screenshot image taken from WGN News YouTube channel

Many children in the program often wish to meet celebrities, professional athletes, astronauts and so on.

Khalil’s dream is to be law enforcement officer. In a moving and touching ceremony, he was pinned with a badge and made an honorary police officer- which he is taking seriously.
According to WGN News, they stated:

“Khalil’s day was busy with lots of police work and training. But his parents say he’s going to go home and kick back and watch a lot more police videos to become an even better officer.”

The heartwarming story also resonated with many of the viewers of the YouTube news coverage of the story.

Some of the comments were:

Interwebtubes: Many thanks to everyone on the CPD FOR A VERY POSITIVE AND Reinforcing event for this little boy who is going through so very much”

“Loveforeignaccents: What a cutie & wishing him the best of health!!! Glad they were able to bring his dream to fruition!”

LET wishes Khalil a happy and healthy life as a new police officer and we will continue praying for a full recovery.

He's always loved cops.  Now a boy fighting a rare blood disease has been deputized after spending a day with them.

Another great charitable story.

“Protect the kids”: Police-run charity donates seven emergency trauma stations to North Brunswick schools

Posted March 26, 2022

NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – An initiative started by a police-run charity has donated seven top-of-the-line trauma stations to a North Brunswick school district.

That charity, Brothers Before Others, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization that was established in 2014 by founder, president, and veteran NYPD police officer Michael Burke.

Initially, the organization began as a closed Facebook page where police officers could share their stories with those who would understand.

Quickly, however, charitable initiatives grew and thrived for the organizations, starting with a campaign, via the National Flower Fund, to provide floral arrangements for all the bereaved family and departments of fallen police officers who died in the line of duty.

To date, over 700 floral arrangements have been provided.

Joshua Oliveri, 2nd Vice President of Brothers Before Others, said of the National Flower Fund mission:

“There have been services where we have found out our arrangements have been one of only a few. While this gesture seems simple, it is a tangible sign to the family left behind that no matter where they are, people they never met are thinking about them and that they are never alone.

“To date, we are the only organization of any kind doing this other than the New York Yankees who, since 2016, two years after us, have been known to send arrangements to civil servant funerals. However, they do not do every one.”

Kits for Kids by Cops
Kits for Kids by Cops, photo courtesy of Brothers Before Others

Another initiative orchestrated by Brothers Before Others is “Kits for Kids by Cops.”

This mission seeks to provide high-quality, fully stocked Emergency Trauma Stations to school districts, to help prepare schools for life-threatening emergencies.

Oliveri said:

“While Brothers Before Others has had this idea in the works for a few months now, inspired by the observations of one of our members in another school district out of state, our reasoning and rationale for the donation has been highlighted by the recent uptick in school shootings/violence.”

He continued:

“While it is our sincerest hope these kits accumulate dust and are never needed, we have to also recognize the world we live in and prepare for the worst.

“In the event of a mass casualty type incident, the availability of these kits and included items to the staff and responding police, fire and EMS (personnel) will undoubtedly save lives.”

The Emergency Trauma Stations provided by Brothers Before Others for donation to schools were purchased from TacMed Solutions.

The station encases its contents within a wall-mounted steel cabinet.  Red lettering on the cabinet displays the easily identifiable words “Trauma Kit.”  The cabinet is alarmed and may be hard-wired into an alarm system to alert others that the trauma kit is being used.

Emergency Trauma Station
Emergency Trauma Station, photo courtesy of Brothers Before Others

Oliveri noted:

“We chose the metal boxes specifically because, just as an AED box, they are alarmed and able to be locked; though, also like AED boxes, they rarely are. No one needs to be searching for a key in an emergent situation.

“That said, because these boxes will be in relatively common areas, the alarm feature was important to us.”

Inside the cabinet is a red bag clearly marked “Trauma Kit.” The bag contains seven individual trauma kits in resealable bags, each of which include:

– gloves

– a SOF® Tourniquet

– an OLAES ® multipurpose trauma bandage

– petrolatum gauze or an optional set of chest seals

– a tape board

– an emergency blanket.

Trauma Kit
Trauma Kit, photo courtesy of Brothers Before Others
Trauma Kit contents
Trauma Kit contents, photo courtesy of Brothers Before Others

In addition, each individual trauma kit contains illustrated step-by-step instructions to guide the user through the proper use and application of the elements in the kit.

Also within the red trauma bag are two ultra-light poleless litter systems to aid in the evacuation of injured persons.

On February 23, 2022, Brothers Before Others presented seven Emergency Trauma Stations to the North Brunswick Board of Education.

Brothers Before Others wrote in a Facebook post on the event:

“Our charity presented the North Brunswick Board of Education (NJ) with seven top of the line trauma kits from TacMed Solutions. Giving them seven allows one to be placed in each of the schools in the district.

“At a time when cities all over America are calling for “defund the police”, this charity, comprised solely of active/retired police officers from all over the US, STILL went in their own pockets to make this happen….many of them unable to tell you where NJ is, let alone North Brunswick.

“What (Ret) Sheriff David Clarke has always said still rings true: No one cares for their community like the American police officer.”

In the same vein, Oliveri also noted:

“The $6,000 needed for this presentation came directly from the pockets of our 2,200 charity members, all of whom are active or retired law enforcement officers from all over the country and many of whom have never even been to New Jersey, let alone North Brunswick.

“That is how invested in their service our members are.

“That is the American police officer.”

The school district is quite prepared to implement the trauma kits in the event of an emergency.

According to Oliveri:

“The school resource officers (SRO) in North Brunswick have already been trained on many of the items or similar ones as part of their certification.”

Furthermore, Oliveri added, TacMed provides training with their kits:

“As part of the package, Tac Med provides a free online certification course that takes  20 to 30 minutes to complete and will familiarize the individual on each item and their application.

“The online course is available to all the school staff, not just the SROs. So, the civilian staff has access to the same online course.”

According to Mike Misurell, North Brunswick School District’s director of security, North Brunswick has also sent its entire security staff, nurses, and civilian MERT (Medical Emergency Response Team) teams to an intensive, hands-on training session on emergency procedures such as tourniquet application, bleeding control, and chest seal application.

North Brunswick Police Lt. Michael Sauvigne, a member of Brothers Before Others, pointed out that the trauma kits will also prove beneficial for police officers responding to the scene of a school emergency.

He said:

“All officers in Middlesex County have been through bleeding control/trauma care training.

“Having these kits on site will provide easy access for first responders should there ever be need for them.

“We hope there is never a situation where these kits will be used, however, in the event they are needed time is of the essence.

“Having these kits pre-positioned will save valuable time.”

Security director Misurell said of the trauma kits:

“The school district can’t thank Brothers Before Others enough because they have given us the best supplies we hope we will never need.…

“This more readily available location is a tremendous bonus to the school district.”

To hear more stories on Brothers Before Others as they continue to provide medical trauma kits to school districts, please follow the Kits for Kids by Cops Facebook page.

To support Brothers Before Others financially in their many charitable endeavors, please feel free to visit their donation page at this link.

He's always loved cops.  Now a boy fighting a rare blood disease has been deputized after spending a day with them.

Police-run nonprofit shares beloved officer’s Hulk figurine to inspire those who are fighting for their lives

Originally published March 25, 2022

PHILLIPSBURG, NJ – A police-run nonprofit is spearheading a campaign to bring hope, strength and comfort to those who are fighting for their lives, while honoring the legacy of a brother in blue.  Inspiration for those warriors comes in the form of a small Hulk figurine, a treasured possession of a beloved police officer who bravely battled multiple cancers for five years.

Brothers Before Others, “Rooted in Charity, Committed to Action,” is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity founded in 2014.  It is run by active and retired law enforcement officers.

The organization initially began as a closed Facebook group where police officers could share their stories with an understanding audience.  From there, it grew and developed into a charitable organization, with its initial objective being to provide floral arrangements to fallen officers’ departments and families.  Brothers Before Others has so far provided over 650 floral arrangements.

In addition, Brothers Before Others has taken on many other charitable activities to help and support officers and their families.

One initiative, the Eric Dial Hulk Project, has been bringing strength and inspiration to people who are battling huge medical odds against them.

Eric Dial Hulk Project
Eric Dial Hulk Project

The Eric Dial Hulk Project is named in honor of beloved police officer Eric Dial, who served with the Philadelphia Police Department.  Dial served 8 years as a narcotics officer, serving 3 years undercover.  He was also a member of the Philadelphia Police Department’s Warrant Entry Team as well as their Rapid Response Team.

Dial was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer, which had metastasized to his liver, at the young age of 34.  He spent the last five years of his life bravely battling various forms of cancer, standing tall and strong in the face of his life-threatening illnesses.

According to Joshua Oliveri, 2nd Vice President of Brothers Before Others, Dial was “quite simply, a giant human being in both stature and personality.”

A small Lego Hulk figurine accompanied Dial through his 5-year battle, serving as an inspiration to him and his family.

In the midst of his brave fight, Dial wrote on social media in 2013:

When something bad happens, you have three choices.

“You can either let it define you, let it destroy you or you can let it strengthen you.”

Sadly, in September of 2015, the strong yet gentle Dial succumbed to his cancers.

However, thanks to the Brothers Before Others Eric Dial Hulk Project, others who are bravely fighting for their lives have been able to draw on Dial’s strong and honorable legacy by holding the very Hulk Figurine that inspired Dial through his own medical trials.

Retired NYPD officer Michael Burke, founder and president of Brothers Before Others, said of Brothers Before Others and the Eric Dial Hulk Project:

“I didn’t know what to expect when starting this charity in 2014, but the amount of initiatives/ projects that have come from having like minded people come together is amazing.

“We are truly blessed by the families who are literally on the fight of their life allowing us in.

“Their fight is our fight.

“Now let’s SMASH  these medical issues just like the Hulk.”

The passing of the Hulk figurine, and the legacy of strength from Eric Dial, began with Philadelphia Police Officer Jesse Hartnett, who was struck in 2016 by bullets 3 times at point-blank range in an ambush.  Despite being gravely wounded, Hartnett was able to return fire at the suspect, who was ultimately apprehended.

Eric Dial’s widow, Jeaneane, visited Hartnett in the hospital as he was fighting for his life.

Joshua Oliveri wrote in an introduction letter that accompanies the Hulk figurine:

“Along with prayers and words of encouragement, she brought Jesse Eric’s Hulk figurine….

“Jesse carried the Hulk through his recovery and drew inspiration from both it and the legacy of the man it came from.”

In 2017, Hartnett passed on the Hulk to Philadelphia Police Officer and Brothers Before Others administrator Joe Leighthardt, who had been given only months to live due to a serious brain disorder.  Leighthardt rallied, helped by support from Brothers Before Others and the inspiration from the Hulk figurine, defying the odds against him.

Oliveri wrote:

“Jesse knew what inspiration had been drawn from the figurine and, more importantly, knew that Joe needed it now more than ever.”

Next, the figurine found its way into the hands of retired Fanwood Police Sergeant and Brothers Before Others member Russ Yeager.

Yeager was stricken with a serious infection that required amputation of his leg from the knee down.  As Brothers Before Others rallied around him, Yeager drew inspiration from Dial’s Hulk figurine.

Oliveri noted:

“While Russ’ journey is far from over and he continues to battle through related health issues with the Hulk by his side, the grace, generosity, benevolence and true grit that Russ has displayed throughout is a tribute to Eric Dial and the legacy he has left behind.

“Russ understands fraternity on a level that few who wear a shield ever really comprehend.”

Empowered by the Hulk figurine and Dial’s enduring legacy, Yeager passed on the Hulk to a brave, strong young lady, Emerson Oliveri, daughter of Brothers Before Others 2nd Vice President Joshua Oliveri.

Emerson has been facing incredible odds since before she was born.  She had a left-sided congenital diaphragmatic hernia, meaning that her diaphragm had not closed and as a result, her abdominal organs migrated into her chest.  She was given a 25% chance of survival.

Emerson required life-saving care from the moment of her birth, when she began to suffocate because her internal organs were crushing her lungs.

Emerson had to be on a ventilator the first several months of her life, and she has required multiple complicated surgeries and medical interventions during the last 14 years.  One innovative surgical repair required surgeons to cut away two ribs and use a portion of her latissimus muscle to repair the hole where her diaphragm should have been.

Emerson took inspiration from the Hulk figurine as she endured and recovered from her most recent hospital stay and repair.

This brave young lady wrote in a journal that accompanies the Hulk figure:

“Hi!  This is Emerson.

“I hope this hulk helps you, just like it helped me though my tough time.

“I hope it reminds you of how strong you are!

“We are all thinking about you, and know that you will beat this.”

Emerson has kindly passed the Hulk along to 15-month-old Joey “JP” Stedman, the son of a New York State Police trooper.

JP was born with Biliary Atresia, a rare congenital condition in which bile ducts are blocked so that bile cannot flow from the liver into the intestine.  There is no cure.

JP underwent a procedure called the Kasai, which restored bile flow, but he still suffered many complications of his condition, including multiple episodes of cholangitis (bile duct infection) requiring weeks of IV antibiotics.

In his short life, JP has required many medical procedures and interventions, most recently a liver transplant from a living donor.

During his recovery, JP has been able to enjoy the Hulk figurine.

JP’s parents wrote on social media:

“Today we received the ‘Incredible Hulk’ from a little girl named Emerson.

This Hulk represents the metaphorical strength and resilience during times of pain and injustice….

“We are honored to be part Hulk’s journey and continue Eric’s legacy.”

Please follow the Eric Dial Hulk Project on its Facebook page for more stories of how the Hulk figurine has inspired others as they fight for their lives.

For those who wish to support Brothers Before Others financially as this police-run nonprofit continues its charitable work, please follow this link to the charity’s donation page.

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