Jim Marquis has a real soft spot for kids facing serious medical issues. So when the president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 1 read in a police publication about a 6-year-old Virginia boy battling a deadly form of brain cancer, he immediately asked his City Police officers to join him in sending a special gift to Nathan Norman of Rustburg, Va.
"Here is a 6-year-old kid who has brain cancer. All he asked for was Christmas cards from police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians. And in spite of all the issues Nathan is facing, he also is trying to help other kids with cancer by buying them presents," Marquis said.
So Erik Dervis, treasurer of the F.O.P. Lodge 1, circulated a Christmas card among the officers of the police department, and Shawn Scott, chaplain, started collecting special police-related items to send to the young man.
"Police Chief Bill McCafferty contributed a professional duty hat and Steubenville police patches," said Marquis.
"We had a special T-shirt made up by Stuff With Attitude, and when they found out it was for a 6-year-old boy with brain cancer, they donated the shirt. We have also included a couple D.A.R.E. shirts and other police items," explained Marquis.
According to the Norman family website, Nathan was born on Dec 28, 2006.
"He began having seizures just before his first birthday in 2007. We have had multiple EEG's and a CT scan that were all normal. The doctors believed he had a type of childhood migraine and vertigo disorder. In October 2008, his seizures began to happen more frequently. Where he used to have them once or twice every few months, he began having 10 to 15 seizures a month. However, just a few hours after a Jan. 14, 2009, MRI we received the devastating call that Nathan had a tumor on his cerebellum that went over into the peduncle. While there are many things that cancer does, there are many things that cancer cannot do: It cannot kill friendship, it cannot suppress memories. ... Nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height or depth; It cannot silence courage, it cannot invade the soul. ... Nor any created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God; It cannot steal eternal life, it cannot conquer the spirit ... which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Nathan is such a brave and strong little boy, we love him so much," wrote Nathan's mother Dawn.
The 6-year-old requested Christmas cards from police officers, firefighters and EMTs and has been overwhelmed by the response.
"Here is a little boy who is facing some very serious issues. We are inspired by him and wish him the best in his fight against the cancer. He is one of the real heroes in our world," said Marquis.
Marquis said cards can be sent to Nathan Norman at 81 Dunivan Drive, Rustburg, VA 24588.
F.O.P. Lodge 1 also spent hundreds of dollars on a variety of toys for young patients who spent Christmas at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh.