WOODSON TERRACE, Mo. – A police officer who is battling cancer was cleared to leave the hospital for a few hours this week in order to walk his 5-year-old autistic son to his first day of school.
“This is one of my biggest days and I just didn’t want to miss this,” said officer Andy Mattaline. “He means the world to me. We’ve been through a lot together.”
The precious gift was made possible by Mattaline’s doctors, who cleared their patient to leave the care of Saint Louis University Hospital for a few hours so that he could attend his son Carmine’s first day.
Mattaline is suffering from esophageal and stomach cancer and has just undergone surgery to remove the tumors from his body.
What’s even more amazing than the triumphant walk to kindergarten comes in the form of a promise from Mattaline’s fellow officers.
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Fox 2 reported that Mattaline was joined by more than 20 police officers from at least 10 other departments who have promised to take charge and walk Carmine to school on days when his father is too sick to be there.
“I just love the support. … I can’t thank anybody enough,” Mattaline said.
Officers from St. John, Bel-Bor, Breckenridge Hills, Chesterfield, Maryland Heights, Warson Woods, Normandy, Webster Groves and St. Louis County — and deputies from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office all participated in the first-day-of-school walk.
If that isn’t a testament to the power of the Blue Family… we don’t know what is.
“We’re friends but we’re family also,” Officer Chris Kaatman said in an interview with FOX 2. “We want to do whatever we can to again make this day special for him and his family.”
Andy Mattaline is married to Mary, and together they have two children, Carmine, 5, who is battling his own fight with autism, and their 3-year-old daughter, Evelyn.
A Missouri police officer battling cancer left the hospital to walk his autistic son to his first day of kindergarten. https://fxn.ws/2YZaXIR
Posted by Fox News on Wednesday, August 14, 2019
The couple said that it was a pretty overwhelming display of love and support, and that they were eternally thankful.
“It’s pretty amazing. It’s so touching to see everyone here and everyone that hears about Andy wants to be there for Carmine,” Mary Matteline said.
They said that this major first step into the world was made special by his fellow officers, and that the display of love is something they’ll never forget.
“I just can’t wait to release him into the world,” Andy said. “To his first step to transition into becoming something we all want to see him flourish into.”