3-year-old cancer patient becomes youngest Schertz police officer ever
Eli Hoag took break from chemotherapy to join police force
SCHERTZ, Texas – A little boy fighting cancer is now one step closer to his dream of fighting crime in his community. Eli Hoag, 3, took a break from chemotherapy Tuesday morning to officially become a junior police officer of the Schertz Police Department.
Eli stood tall outside his house Tuesday in his police uniform, repeating every word of the officer's oath to Schertz police Officer Helen Lafitte.
Eli's barely big enough to see out the window of the police unit, but he's now officially the youngest officer on the Schertz police force.
"A police cop," he said.
That is all Eli has ever wanted to be and it's what he dressed up as for Halloween. The picture of him in his Halloween police officer costume was posted on a community Facebook page and quickly caught Lafitte's attention.
Lafitte knew how much Eli had been going through.
"Acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It showed up really suddenly," explained Eli's mom, Stephanie Hoag.
He was diagnosed in January, and with chemotherapy every single day, his parents say things can get tough.
"He can't even walk outside. We have to put him in a mask every time we leave the house. Just a little cold or an infection can make a difference. That's how a lot of them pass away," said Eli's dad, Stan Hoag.
Without hesitation, Lafitte and her co-workers brought the Schertz Police Department to Eli.
They swore him in using the oath every other officer takes and gave him two special things: a Schertz police patch, and a sergeant's coin for bravery in the line of duty, which is a very rare thing earn.
"I mentioned those don't get handed out like candy. You earn those," Lafitte said.
The day spent with Eli put a lot of things in perspective, even for officers who risk their lives at work each day.
"I honestly almost started crying when I was doing the swearing in because I can only imagine. We take a lot of things for granted on a daily basis," Lafitte said.
Lafitte was especially touched by Eli's relationship with his big sister, Brooklyn.
"He got overwhelmed at one point, but as soon as she put her hand on his shoulder, he was good," Lafitte said.
"I was very proud," Brooklyn said about Eli becoming a junior police officer.
Brooklyn said she takes her job as big sister very seriously.
"(I) make sure he's safe, make sure he's always better and always has fun," she said.
Tuesday was so full of fun that Eli forgot all about chemo, doctors and cancer altogether.
"We really want to thank the entire community and, of course, the Schertz Police Department. Without them none of this would have happened. We couldn't be more grateful for all of this," Stephanie Hoag said.
Every day since their son's diagnosis has been a struggle, but they say with community support like this, they feel like they're surrounded by family.
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