(KHON) A three-year-old boy from Maui will be named an honorary firefighter by the New York City Fire Department at the end of the month.
Trucker Dukes was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma when he was just 19 months old.
He and his mother frequently travel between Maui and New York for treatments at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), which specializes in neuroblastoma.
While walking in Manhattan, they met FDNY Capt. Jim Grismer, who quickly took Trucker under his wing.
“I see this little boy excitedly walking towards me with his eyes aglow. I opened my arms and he basically climbed up and hugged me around the neck,” Grismer recalled. “It was as if we’ve been friends or brothers for years.”
Grismer and other firefighters began inviting them to visit, and when Trucker turned three, they hosted a birthday party at the firehouse.
On May 31, Trucker will be sworn in as an honorary firefighter at the FDNY headquarters in Brooklyn.
“This honor is so special to us because Trucker-Boy really thinks he’s a fireman,” mother Shauna Dukes said. “We are so blessed to have been adopted by the FDNY. Time and time again, I have watched big tough men fall in love with Trucker. It’s really something special.”
Friends are raising money to pay for air travel so Trucker’s dad, a Maui firefighter, and his three siblings can attend the ceremony.
Donations can be made directly to any Bank of Hawaii branch to the “Trucker Dukes Cancer Fund” or online here.