3-year-old Trucker Dukes from Maui, Hawaii was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when he was only one year old.
After battling cancer for two years, he died at his Hawaii home in his mom’s arms.
The boy had inspired many people in his short life. He was even made an honorary junior firefighter by the Fire Department of the City of New York.
Shauna Dukes, his mother, said in a statement to ABC News: “Trucker’s passing has been the hardest experience you can imagine. Now we get to celebrate his extraordinary life.”
After the toddler was diagnosed with cancer, his family sent him and Shauna to New York City for treatment.
During Trucker’s stay in New York, he befriended the firefighters when they responded to an emergency at the Ronald McDonald House, where he was staying.
FDNY Captain Jim Grismer said to Huffington Post: “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. It was as if we’ve been friends/brothers for years.”
The FDNY told ABC News that Trucker was sworn in as a ‘Junior Fighter’, an honor that FDNY bestows on young children who are battling with illnesses.
Trucker also celebrated his third birthday with a party hosted by firemen from FDNY.
“He actually thinks he’s a firefighter in New York. We’ve had unbelievable support from firefighters all across the world, actually,” Shauna told ABC News.
Trucker loved fire trucks and fire departments, as his father, Joshua Dukes, is a fireman in Maui.
Hoping to give the toddler a better quality of life, his family decided to bring him home to Maui and stop the treatments, according to The Maui News.
His family created wonderful memories with the three-year-old. They went on a trip to British Columbia, where he was treated to a hotel and snowboard lessons and rentals for the children.
“We made some really, really amazing memories, but at the same time Trucker started getting worse. It was a double-edged sword. Shauna and I really enjoyed spending time with the family, but we knew what the next chapter was going to be,” Joshua shared.
After the family returned to Maui, Trucker’s legs became swollen and painful. “He’d wake up screaming at night from the pain. He’d literally wake up 30 to 40 times a night,” Joshua said.
“It was really, really challenging,” he expressed.
“I think towards the end we started praying that God would heal him or God would take him because we didn’t want to see him suffer anymore. Honestly, when he died, he took his last breath and that was it.
“It wasn’t violent, and he was in my wife’s arms and he was home with his family. That was a miracle.”
Rest in peace, Trucker!
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