First responders answer a special call
Touched by boy's battle with leukemia, local firefighters and police officers traveling to Rhode Island for his birthday
By Pamela Chergotis
MATAMORAS — There's something magical about Tyler Seddon. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of the men and women in uniform he admires so much have been drawn to his side, traveling great distances to join his seventh birthday celebration.
A contingent of firefighters and police officers from Pike County, touched by the boy's battle with leukemia, are making the trip. About 20 mustered in single-digit temperatures at the Matamoras Welcome Center on I-84 at 5 a.m. Thursday before setting off.
Matthew McCormack of the Eastern Pike Regional Police said he believed thousands of firefighters, officers, and military personnel, some from quite a long distance from the boy's home, will be with Tyler today. Representatives from four local fire departments — Matamoras, Westfall, Dingman Township, and Forest — joined members of the Eastern Pike Regional Police for the journey.
The story is about the power of social media to bring people together over a cause that dissolves geographical distances. Tyler's mother, Rachel Seddon-Dunn, knowing her son's fascination with first responders, asked through Facebook that they send Tyler birthday greetings. The request went viral. Not only is the boy receiving big mail bags' worth of cards, legions of first responders have decided to answer the call in person. Among Tyler's visitors are a firefighter from Virginia and a state trooper from Kentucky, who made trips of 10 and 14 hours to see him.
According to local news reports, Tyler is fighting his second bout of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He was first diagnosed in 2010, then went into remission in 2012. But in November the cancer returned. Tyler’s mom is searching for matching donors for bone marrow transplants that Tyler will need.
As part of the festivities, Tyler will be sworn in as police chief for the day in his hometown of Burrillville, R.I.
Send a card — First responders are welcome to send Tyler a birthday card at 96 South Main St., Pascoag, R.I. 02859.
Donate money — To donate money that will go toward Tyler's cancer treatment, visit gofundme.com/TylersTroops.
Find out more — For more information about Tyler, visit his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/OfficialTylersTroops.
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