Iowa officers surprise boy in remission from rare form of leukemia

GARNER, Iowa – They’ve had they’re hands full this year, but Iowa State Troopers are deciding to end 2015 on a high note by showing support for one of their youngest fans.

8News sister station KIMT was there as troopers stopped by the home of Cohen Smith of Garner. Cohen has been suffering from a rare form of Leukemia for the past few months, but has been feeling better lately.

Since Cohen is a big fan of law enforcement, troopers surprised him with a state patrol gift basket at his home.

Still in his pajamas, Cohen greeted Trooper Keith Duenow at the door. Although Cohen was a little reserved at first, Duenow decided to share his bag of goodies one by one.

“You like the hat? What if you had your own hat, maybe something like this,” said Duenow. He would then pull out a miniature version of his troopers hat and gave the hat to Cohen.

After presenting Cohen with a commemorative badge, Duenow tells Cohen that he wasn’t the only one to receive a gift today. The attention now focused on Cohen’s parents, Brenda and Steve.

“We hear you’ve been going up to Rochester a lot. What we have here is a check from Iowa State Patrol Post for $500 to help with medical expenses, food and housing,” said Duenow.

Duenow explains that each trooper has the opportunity to nominate a family for the $500 reward. The Smith family was nominated, all the troopers voted and they felt Cohen’s story was most compelling.

“You don’t realize how much things cost. It’s just a blessing from God. It’s one less thing to worry about,” said Brenda Smith.

Brenda thanked Duenow and the state patrol for thinking of her family at this time. She said she was even more grateful to know that this was a good day for Cohen’s health.

Cohen has been diagnosed with Burkitt’s Leukemia, a condition that only accounts for about 2 percent of all childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia. Since the cancer has been in remission, Brenda says Cohen’s health varies day by day.

“When his counts start to drop, that is just touch and go. We don’t know if he’s gonna feel good or not feel good,” said Brenda Smith.

After handing over the check, Duenow also invited the family to lunch with other north Iowa troopers. Duenow says it’s important to show the community that law enforcement can be more than simply apprehending criminals. He says it’s about being there for the community when they need you the most.

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