ITHACA, New York-- Colin Hayward Toland is an extremely excited little boy.
That's because he's about to be sworn in as a police officer.. and he's only nine years old.
On Sept. 12, Colin, who has been bravely battling brain cancer since the age of two, will become an honorary police officer with the Ithaca Police Department in New York.
Colin's mom, Tamiko Toland, told FOX 8 that over the summer, Colin talked about how he wanted to be a police officer. "It was very cute. He said he liked coffee, so he should become a police officer, but that he wasn't good at stopping crimes so he should be the receptionist," Tamiko said.
When the police department held a community picnic, Colin met the police chief-- John Barber-- and started talking to him about a job. Chief Barber told Colin very enthusiastically to come back when he was 18 years old.
Colin's mom said her son has hearing issues from treatment and thought it was a true job offer.
When Tamiko explained to Chief Barber that Colin was taking this seriously, the chief arranged to have him sworn in, and even sent out a letter about the huge event. Officers also came to Colin's recent birthday party.
Here is the press release:
Earlier this summer at the Ithaca Police & Community Barbecue, Chief John R. Barber was introduced to Ithaca residents Ian Hayward and Tamika Toland, and their children Aidan and Colin. Colin is 9 years old and his dream is to become a police officer. Colin has also been battling brain cancer for the majority of his young life. Colin Hayward Toland is a bright and funny nine-year-old boy who loves being with his family and playing video games, especially Minecraft, and is looking forward to the start of fourth grade at Northeast Elementary.
When Colin turned two his family discovered he had a malignant brain tumor, ependymoma, and embarked on a full year of treatment to remove and treat the tumor. In the course of treatment, he lost the ability to eat, speak and walk as well as other deficits that still affect him today. However, after four months of intense chemotherapy, three brain surgeries to remove tumor and radiation, Colin started recovering many of his lost abilities and eventually entered kindergarten at Northeast.
In January 2015, Colin’s cancer returned with no clear path for a curative treatment. He has had three more brain surgeries to remove the tumor and gone through numerous treatments, most recently surgery followed by radiation of the brain and spine at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. He and his family have traveled to Augusta, GA, Boston, MA, Dallas, TX, Rochester, NY, and Memphis, TN for treatment since his relapse, always returning home to Ithaca.
Chief Barber is pleased to announce that Colin’s dream of becoming a police officer is going to come true! On September 12th at 11:30 am Colin will be sworn in as an Honorary Police Officer for the Ithaca Police Department. The ceremony will take place at Stewart Park on the shores of Cayuga Lake. Colin’s custom uniform and custom badge have arrived, and the final pieces of the ceremony have been planned.
Please join Chief Barber, Mayor Svante Myrick and many local law enforcement officers at Colin’s swearing-in ceremony. A large contingent of police departments in the region have promised to join us in making September 12th a day that Colin and his family will never forget. This ceremony is open to the general public, and members of the media are encouraged to attend. A media pool has been established and space will be reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Though Colin has been through so much—perhaps in part because of it—he has always wanted to help people and contribute to his community. This summer, he decided that he wanted to become a police officer, and he is very excited to start his new career, which he plans on balancing with his continued studies at Northeast Elementary School.
Tamiko said Colin is so excited and tells anybody who will listen about his new job. "At the beginning of last December, we were told we had 3-6 months with him. To be doing this now is so amazing. He's doing so well and I haven't seen him engaged and excited like this in months. It's truly a gift," Tamiko said.
Tamiko said the family is incredibly grateful to police for making this happen.