Devin Suau proudly wears the honorary status of Boston police commissioner along with his very own police uniform, with patches that span the width of his arms. Thanks to a few local police departments, the six-year-old who “has always loved heroes,” according to his mom, Christine Suau, is now getting the chance to see what it feels like to be one himself.
Devin’s favorite things to do include eating as much ice cream as his little stomach can hold and hanging out with the police.
“Getting up in the morning, very early, 6:30 a.m., and going in for radiation — he doesn’t complain,” said Devin’s uncle, Boston Police Officer Justin Cremins.” He just gets up, pulls up his socks and his boots, and in he goes. I’m really proud of him.”
While on a vacation back in January, the Suau’s life changed forever. During the trip, Devin fell off a snowboard and hit his head. His parents feared he had suffered a concussion. But, when they took Devin to the doctor, the diagnosis they were given was far worse.
The family was told that Devin had an inoperable brain tumor with no known cure. The brain tumor is a type of pediatric cancer known as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG.
Both the Boston and Framingham, Massachusetts police departments have rallied around Devin in support.
“When we hear the fight of any kid facing a challenge of a debilitating disease, we step forward,” said Boston Police Superintendent-in-Chief William Gross. “You have to take care of the future and show parents that are going through this that they’re not alone.”
The Adventures of a Real-Life Hero
Devin has been known to wander off to strike up a conversation with a police officer, Christine Suau said. She said it means a lot to the six-year-old to see so many real-life heroes rooting for him on this journey.
The Boston PD gave Devin the opportunity to be the center of attention last month at the South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, where he represented the department. The little boy rode in the SWAT vehicle, waving to the crowd and sporting his officer’s cap on his head the entire way.
Cremins, Devin’s uncle, joined him for the ride along the parade route. “The men and women that I work with everyday were out there lining the streets, and they were saluting, giving him thumbs up and cheering him on,” he said.
Fellow officers carried banners that said, “Cops for Kids with Cancer” and “#WhyNotDevin – Fighting for a cure to DIPG.”
The hashtag has appeared across social media, showing everyone’s support for the hope that Devin could be the first person cured of this disease.
The Strength of a Child
Devin has undergone radiation treatment five days a week, for six weeks. He “was like nothing ever happened,” his mother said. “He does not miss a beat.”
“I was kind of scared,” Devin said.
Devin’s doctors have estimated his life expectancy to be anywhere from six months to two years. But, Devin’s family and “Boston’s finest” are hopeful that a cure will come soon.
Supporting the Community
The local police department continues to make efforts to raise awareness and to continue to support the local community.
The Boston PD also declared 4-year-old Declan Higgins an honorary officer. Declan is also fighting his own battle with brain cancer.
“It’s a village as a whole,” said Superintendent Gross, “and we have to take care of everyone in the village.”
Other Adventures of Devin
On April 17, Devin held his mom’s hand as they ran across the finish line of the Boston Marathon, thanks to the help of the Boston PD.
More recently, last Wednesday, Devin and his family met Pope Francis and Devin was blessed.
“It’s something that helps us get through the day, knowing that there’s so many people out there that are praying for us, that are supporting us,” says Devin’s father, James Suau.
Images: CNN Video Screenshots