A 9-year-old boy battling terminal brain cancer dreams of becoming a police officer one day. But there’s no time to waste to make that dream come true.
Ithaca PD made Colin Hayward Toland an honorary police officer Monday in a ceremony attended by his family, law enforcement, classmates, community members, and Mayor Svante Myrick at Stewart Park, according to a WICZ report.
— 7News Boston WHDH (@7News) September 13, 2016
— NewsChannel 9 (@NewsChannel9) September 12, 2016
In an interview, Colin said, “I’m very excited to join because I think it’s going to be a great job.”
Colin was sworn in while wearing a custom uniform and a badge.
Mayor Myrick then announced that Sept. 12 will now be known as “Colin Toland Hayward Day.”
Chief John Barber of the Ithaca Police Department said he met Colin’s family at a police community barbecue in July and was told about challenges the boy has been facing and his dream of becoming a police officer.
Barber said that Colin is a perfect candidate for the job. He has everything required to be a good police officer–courage, bravery, and strength.
Colin’s family was so grateful to see the boy’s lifelong dream come true. His mother, Tomika Toland, said that it was like she’s a genuinely proud mother of a police officer.
Colin had undergone six brain surgeries, three of those in the last 20 months. He also had several other treatments then a relapse in 2015. There were times he was unable to walk and talk. But his mother says he continues to show that human spirit triumphs all obstacles.
His battle began when he was just 2-years-old. His family discovered that he has a malignant brain tumor known as ependymoma.
Despite all those difficulties and even through the hardest time, Colin maintains a positive attitude and nothing can keep him down. His father, Ian Hayward said: “Colin doesn’t look at obstacles the way I’ve seen most people. He sees every day as an opportunity to have fun. If he’s having a tough time he usually bounces back with a laugh or a joke.”
When asked what he wants his role to be at the police department, Colin jokingly told his father he would probably be a receptionist, because he “wouldn’t be good at catching bad guys.”
Colin’s positive attitude is just one reason why Chief Barber says it’s an honor to have him on the force. “It’s inspiring and he’s touched the hearts of every single officer you see here,” he said.
The Ithaca Police Department posted a photo album to its Facebook page titled Officer Colin Toland reporting for duty. They also created a customized duffle bag with Colin’s name embroidered on it.
“Even though a recent scan showed significant progressions, the doctors say he shouldn’t even be conscious right now; he’s defying every expectation,” Colin’s mother said. “He’s always the outlier and we are so incredibly grateful for this moment.”
“I know he’s the bravest kid I’ve ever met, and I know he’ll take this job seriously and serve,” Colin’s dad said. “His time is limited. I just don’t want him to be forgotten.”
But how can anybody who knows him, met him, or witnessed the ceremony ever forget him? He inspires many people with his positive outlook and courage. He even had the strength and selfless spirit to say “I just like helping people.”
And for those who face their own challenges, he has one piece of advice: ”You should always follow your dream no matter what.” A great piece of counsel indeed!
Photo from the Ithaca Police Department