Trucker Dukes, a 3-year-old boy from Maui, Hawaii, is currently fighting for his life at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) in New York.
At 19 months old, he was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma; as a result, he left Hawaii with his mom and came to New York for treatment at MSK. Joshua Dukes, Trucker’s dad, who is a Maui firefighter, stayed in Hawaii with Trucker’s three siblings.
Since Trucker’s dad is a firefighter, it was not hard for him to become friends with FDNY Captain Jim Grismer. The two met when Trucker saw Grismer exit Engine 22 after receiving a call to the Ronald McDonald House where Trucker was staying.
“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 said. “It was as if we’ve been friends and brothers for years.”
Since then, the pair have become inseparable. Fellow firefighters also welcomed Trucker and his mom and allowed them to visit different firehouses during their stay in New York. They also hosted Trucker’s birthday party.
According to Facebook page Team Trucker, where one can find updates about Trucker’s progress, Trucker will be sworn in to the New York City Fire Department as an honorary firefighter during an oath ceremony led by Daniel A. Nigro, the 33rd Fire Commissioner, on May 31 at the FDNY Headquarters in Brooklyn.
“This honor is so special to us because Trucker-Boy really thinks he’s a fireman,” Shauna Dukes, Trucker’s mom, said in a Facebook post. “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.”