Trucker Dukes is a brave three-year-old that has gone through more than some people go through in their entire lives. When he was only 19-months-old, Trucker was found to have stage IV neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that typically develops in children under the age of five. After being diagnosed, Trucker and his mother, Shauna Dukes, started going back and forth between their home in Hawaii to New York City where Trucker was receiving his treatment at New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
While at the Ronald McDonald House receiving his first treatment, Trucker happened to meet Captain Jim Grismer from the New York Fire Department. His mother said that Trucker has always loved firemen, quite possibly because his father Joshua Dukes is a fireman at their home in Maui. As soon as Trucker met Capt. Grismer, the two became fast friends. Since that meeting, Trucker has also become friends with the rest of the firefighters in the same unit as Capt. Grismer.
Since meeting the firefighters, they have embraced Trucker as one of their own and have made some incredible memories for the little boy. Not only is Trucker invited to visit their firehouse all the time, he even got to celebrate his third birthday there! After Trucker was having terrible side effects from his spine and brain radiation, his buddies stopped by with a macaroni and cheese lunch for him. Shauna said that it was the only time she saw her son perk up during that week was when his “boyz” stopped by to see him.
A photo of Trucker and Capt. Grismer hugging has made its way all up to the New York fire commissioner’s office and Trucker has now been issued a special invitation by Commissioner Daniel Nigro. On May 31st, Trucker will be sworn in to become an honorary firefighter, making him the youngest member of the FDNY. Shauna said that as a family they are honored. She said that the firefighters that Trucker knows have already inspired him to keep fighting and to be brave in the face of cancer.
Shauna also had a message that she wanted to get out to other parents with children who are also fighting tough challenges, “To other parents, I would say never lose hope and enjoy every moment because one day at a time is all any of us have really.”