A 3-year-old Indiana boy who is battling stage four cancer was sworn in as the youngest deputy of the Huntington County sheriff’s office on Wednesday.
Wyatt Schmaltz is suffering from neuroblastoma, a cancer that attacks nerve tissue.
“He has a tumor in his abdomen that was too big to be removed. They just had to biopsy it. Then he had cancer in his bone marrow. So it was in both knees, his hips, and his spine. It’s been a very long journey,” his mother April Schmaltz told WANE-TV. “We found out on the 14th [of April] and by the 18th he was starting chemo, which was very quick because what they said he has is very aggressive.”
He was sworn in from his Indianapolis hospital bed by Sheriff Terry Stoffel. The sheriff’s office brought him a custom-made deputy’s uniform and a medal for bravery during his treatment.
"We have given him all the powers of a real sheriff deputy, which are to carry out the orders of the sheriff," Stoffel told CNN. "Right now, his only orders are to get better."
"Gestures like this really aid the healing process for our patients," Dr. Michele Saysana said.
“You can see that Wyatt and others, they emulate all these heroes that they have. And they take on the strength of all these people who are coming out to help them,” Jake Zucker, a pediatric fellow in hematology and oncology at Riley, told WANE-TV. “I think that strength is invaluable for getting them through all of their treatment.”
Stoffel said Wyatt’s situation is special to him. He recently lost his wife to cancer.
“I lost my wife several years ago and we were soul mates. She was a very good woman and it’s–I know what [Wyatt's] family is experiencing,” Stoffel tearfully explained. “The ups and downs, the turns, and I just–it’s very touching and very moving.”
Image Credit: WTHITV.COM