A Christmas Wish For A Dying Boy

Six-year old Nathan Norman has terminal cancer and is reaching out to policemen, firemen and all emergency service workers to fulfill his final Christmas wish.

The only thing on Dawn Norman's wish list this holiday season is that her 6-year old son Nathan lives to see another Christmas, and that his wish of receiving cards, letters and patches from as many policemen, firemen and EMT's is fulfilled. Why? Because policemen, firemen and EMT's happen to be Nathan's heroes.

Three years ago, Nathan, who lives with his family in Rustburg, Virginia, was diagnosed with brain cancer.

"I remember the doctor saying that there was an abnormality," Dawn Norman remembers. "The doctor kept telling me over and over that there was an abnormality and then it hit me. He was telling me that my son had cancer."  

An operation removed 55% of the tumor; however, Nathan has since developed an inoperable tumor on his spinal cord. Since his original diagnosis, he has been on six different chemotherapy treatments and has had three surgeries.

Like most little boys, Nathan loves to watch cops, firemen and emergency medical personnel speed to calls in shiny cars and trucks —sirens blaring and lights flashing —making no stops as they race to save people. 

This Christmas, Nathan is calling upon these heroes to make his wish come true by sending him cards, letters and patches —anything with a first responder insignia.

Nathan's story was brought to Patch by Walt Hutchinson, an officer with the Bergen County Sheriff's Department, who learned about it from Sgt. Robert Carpentieri of the Virginia State Police.

"One of our life-saving crew members told us Nathan's story and said it would be a nice gesture to send him a card," Carpentieri said.

Carpentieri not only sent a card, but sent emails to almost every first responder he knew to do the same.

"I couldn't believe how viral this went," he said in amazement. "Everyone who heard Nathan's story, helped to spread the word."

Agencies across the state of Virginia — local, county, state and federal — heeded the call and sent Nathan cards, letters and patches. 

"As long as Nathan is here, I want to do anything I can to make that little boy happy," Carpentieri said.

New Milford Chief of Police Frank Papapietro has shared Nathan's story with the officers of the New Milford Police Department and the Bergen County Police Chiefs Association to have them join in on fulfilling Nathan's Christmas wish.  

"When you hear a story like this, it's impossible not to think that this could be your child," Papapietro said. "The officers of the New Milford Police Department will do everything they can to make Nathan's wish come true."

This August, feeling especially ill after returning from his monthly treatment at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, Nathan asked his parents if they could decorate the house for Christmas because "that would make him feel better." Knowing that this might be his last Christmas, Nathan's family put up the tree, strung the lights and put out all the decorations.

Wanting to join in the spirit, Nathan's neighbors decorated their yards and strung their outdoor lights to make, what might be, Nathan's last Christmas really spectacular.

"Nathan is such a brave warrior," his mother Dawn told Patch. "He has taught me so much through his love, strength and faith."

Putting his own pain aside, Nathan likes to make gift bags for the other pediatric cancer patients he meets during his monthly treatment travels to Duke University Medical Center. His mother said that he likes to do things to make the other cancer patients feel better.

Despite the monthly treatments and chemotherapy medication, Norman said that doctors have given Nathan 18 months to live.

"I want to make sure that everyone understands that we do not expect to lose Nathan before Christmas this year," Norman said. "However we know with each end of treatment, our options are getting less and less. We fully believe he will be with us for Christmas."

Then she added, "We just don't know about next Christmas."

All cards, letters and patches can be sent to Nathan at:

Nathan Norman, 81 Dunivan Drive, Rustburg, Virginia 24588

diggity December 05, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Wow I'm a35 yr old man an this just made me cry! Poor kid. God bless him!! Don't give up the fight Lil Man.
Bhrenda Drakeford December 05, 2012 at 02:45 PM
WOW. I love you lil man. You are so brave and courageous. I complain to much about my situation. I love you. You are an inspiration to me always.
cch December 05, 2012 at 02:51 PM
I agree with diggity....dont give up sweet little friend! Let us all not forget as we get caught up in the materialism of this holiday season. Good health is the greatest gift of all! Bless this family and may they have a love filled holiday together this year.
AJ December 05, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Where can the cards be sent?
AJ December 05, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Where can the cards be sent?
James Myers (Editor) December 05, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Nathan Norman, 81 Dunivan Drive, Rustburg, Virginia 24588
OMG December 05, 2012 at 03:45 PM
God Bless you Nathan you are an angel awaiting his wings. Just looking at your cute little face made me cry but to read the story behind it I am balling and my co-workers are wondering why. I had to tell them to read the story and walk away. Thanks for putting the address up because althought I am not an officer or emt, I care.
Jenna December 05, 2012 at 03:45 PM
This little boy has made an impression on the country, the LA County Sherriff’s Department has heard and is showing their support along with other local agencies in CA! this little boy reminds us about what is important in life.
MzPaula December 05, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Norristown cops should send him some of their baseball cards if they still have them. They were a big hit with Norristown children.
dawn December 05, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Norristown Patch.........I hope you have forewarded this to police and fire in montgomery county !!!!! God bless his little heart !!!
Brian December 06, 2012 at 06:06 AM
Would it be possible to get his pants/shirt sizes?
JB December 09, 2012 at 02:12 AM
Very sad. Stay strong little man
Nicole C December 10, 2012 at 04:40 PM
I may have to talk to the guys at my hubby's firehouse to sign a card for him!! So sad hope they can brighten his holiday season
Joan Lester December 11, 2012 at 03:51 AM
My precious son had cancer too. I am forever grateful that he came out of his surgery well and is still here with us, to love and appreciate. Keep on keeping on, it's your fight to win. I hope that you will win it.
Penny Wright December 12, 2012 at 09:26 PM
God bless you. Cards are coming your way from fire fighters in Avery county NC


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