EMS agencies are working a different kind of emergency. It's not uncommon for a child with a terminal illness to be granted a wish. Some want a trip to Disney; others ask to meet a famous person. One Southwest Virginia boy has an unusual request and it's being fulfilled by ambulance crews in our area.
Every day EMS workers respond to 911 calls. Now, they're responding to the call of that one little boy. He has a similar emergency but needs a different kind of help.
It started out with a short email from Virginia State Police. It told a sad story with a simple request from a sick boy. Five-year-old Nathan Norman has terminal cancer with tumors in his spine and brain. All he wanted this Christmas is to get cards from public safety officers. The call originated in Southwest Virginia and now has gone state - and nation - wide, including a movement here in the Richmond area.
"I've watched people sit down to write holiday cards and weep," Richmond Ambulance Authority Capt. Brian Hupp described. "I've watched people smile as they draw this young man pictures of ambulances and write poems. It's been so touching to this community and the public safety community as a whole."
In just a few days, local squads have collected hundreds of cards and gifts and that's not all. They've also put one together an ID badge for Nathan, which makes him an honorary Richmond paramedic.
"We deal with a lot of bad stuff from day to day," said West End Volunteer Rescue Squad's Ben Gomes. "This is something good that goes back into our hearts. It means a lot to us. Instead of having to deal with everything bad in the world going on, we can focus on one person right now and make their wish come true."
Nathan's mom sent us a video clip of her "brave warrior," whose spirits are lifted by the packages. In it he said, "thank you for sending me cards and praying for me."
On Friday, EMS workers will lift his spirits once again. They'll act as his own "Santas" and deliver exactly what he asked for.
"This will be the first time we meet him but we know that he's in our hearts and we're thinking about him even before we've met him," said David Bulman, who volunteers with Manchester Rescue Squad. "And just to know that we'll be able to give him that experience, I think as far as us on a professional level we will be able to look at everything a whole lot different."
The crews plan to take three vehicles from the different agencies to Rustburg, Virginia on Friday to deliver those packages.
If you'd like to send Nathan a message, the address is 81 Dunivan Drive, Rustburg, Virginia, 24588.
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