Boy, 9, battling brain cancer becomes honorary police officer in New York

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Lori Stokes reports on a young boy from Ithaca who became an honorary police officer for a day (KTRK)

A 9-year-old boy battling brain cancer had the day of his life Monday when he became a member of his hometown police force in Ithaca, New York.

Colin Hayward Toland says it was a dream come true.

"My favorite part about it is the badge," he said. "I just like helping people."

He was sworn in as a member of the Ithaca Police Department in front of his family, dozens of officers and even his third-grade class.

Colin's mother, Tamiko Toland, says it's something she'll never forget.

"It meant so much to us," she said. "And I was genuinely the proud mother of a police officer this morning."

The touching ceremony was captured by WENY-TV.

It's just the latest accomplishment for Colin, who has gone through six brain surgeries - three of those in the last 20 months.

Colin was 2 years old when he was first diagnosed with brain cancer in June 2009, his father, Ian Hayward, told ABC News.

The family, who was living in Connecticut at the time, was planning a trip to Vermont for Colin's birthday and his parents' 10-year anniversary when all of a sudden he fell ill, Hayward said.

"Things kind of took off rapidly," Hayward said. "One day he was fine, the next he collapsed."

Hayward says even during the hardest times, nothing can keep Colin down.

"Colin doesn't look at obstacles the way I've seen most people," he said. "He sees everyday as an opportunity to have fun. If he's having a tough time, he usually bounces back with a laugh or a joke."

His positive attitude is just one reason Chief John Barber says it's an honor to have him on the force.

"It's inspiring and he's touched the hearts of every single officer you see here," he said.

It's quite the feat for a rookie officer, but no surprise to his family.

"I know he's the bravest kid I've ever met, and I know he'll take this job seriously and serve," Hayward said. "His time is limited. I just don't want him to be forgotten."

But after the ceremony, it's pretty clear that won't happen.
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societycancerchildren's healthpoliceu.s. & worldhealthNew York
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