National News

Mar 6, 2014 5:33 PM by NBC News

Hundreds of police and firefighters help 7-year-old cancer patient celebrate his birthday

(WHDH) First responders from across the country made sure one Rhode Island boy had the best seventh birthday ever.

Tyler Seddon is fighting his second battle with cancer. His birthday wish was to receive cards from his heroes: First responders.

He has always been a fan of the police and fire crews and his wish has turned into a nationwide effort to send well wishes in person. The police chief of Tyler's hometown of Burrillville coordinated a massive parade and party.

"Hundreds of public safety officers coming from as far away as Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, all throughout New England. We're aware of at least four convoys coming in from Massachusetts," Chief Stephen Lynch said.

His mother put out a message on Facebook. Within weeks, the well wishes came pouring in with pictures, personalized messages and videos from departments all across he country.

"I think it's amazing there's so much support out there for one child," said Rachel Seddon-Dunn, the boy's mother.

Four emergency response convoys from Massachusetts attended the party. Local and state police took off from Burlington while firefighters filled the lot at Gillette Stadium. They met up with departments from across the U.S. and traveled to Rhode Island for Tyler's birthday bash.

One firefighter from Virginia Beach drove ten hours just to attend.

"What I saw was their strength and optimism. I wanted to do whatever I could to reinforce that. Once I heard that his birthday is the same as mine, it became incumbent on me to get involved," said the firefighter.

He's received many gifts, from a custom police uniform, to an escort of epic proportions leading to a party filled with hundreds of his now fellow officers. He was also sworn in as the newest member of the Burrillville Police Department. It's to show him who the real hero is.

"Honestly, i think the whole world needed to see something positive to see on the news and I'm glad we're a part of it," Seddon-Dunn said.

Tyler is battling leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant.

He has become a social media sensation. Police departments from everywhere have been posting messages on his Facebook and Twitter pages. Even American troops in Afghanistan wished him a happy birthday.



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