Terminally-ill East Texas child made honorary law enforcement of - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Terminally-ill East Texas child made honorary law enforcement officer

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PALESTINE, TX (KLTV) -

An eight-year-old East Texas boy is the area’s newest junior sheriff in town. Five law enforcement agencies presented Caden Bailey, a terminally-ill second grader, with honorary awards, making him something he has always wanted to be when he grows up.

Caden's father James said the idea all started on a school field trip.

“His teacher had taken kids out on a field trip,” Bailey said. “Caden being Caden, he was really enthused by police officers and she spotted that, so one thing led to another.”

Caden’s dad works as a corrections officers, making it a classic like-father, like-son story.

“He's always wanted to do what daddy does,” Bailey said. “The community and police officers come by and they do stop and talk to him. That kind of spurred his ambitions.”

But Caden isn’t just a normal second grader. Shortly after birth, he was diagnosed with Niemann-Pick disease, a terminal illness that robs most kids of their lives by the time they turn 10.

“His time is short,” Bailey said. “Our friends and family and community, they know this, so everybody is jumping in the air to make sure that he gets to experience all that he can.”

The community outreach extends to what would normally seem like routine activities too.

“His brother plays football, but he can’t, it's not possible,” Bailey said. “One of our neighbors made him a coach’s assistant, so he actually gets to go out on the field.”

The family said it’s all about the opportunities Caden has had. In just the last year, Caden and his family have made a trip to Disney World through the Make-A-Wish foundation. Since then, Caden and his father also had a chance to go on a hunting trip in Missouri with the Catch-A-Dream program. Monday, the eight-year-old became an honorary police officer, sheriff’s deputy and junior Texas Ranger.

“You couldn't tell where one ear started and where the other one stopped because that grin went across his face,” Bailey said. “These people made him feel real special today.”

The family making sure every moment they have with their son is one they cherish.

“Let them live to the fullest, to the best of their ability,” Bailey said. “But be there with them, experience it with them.”

Caden received a variety plaques and badges from the Palestine Police Department, Anderson County Sheriff and Constables, as well as the Department of Public Safety and Texas Rangers.

Topping it all off, he even got a ride in a Palestine police squad car.

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