8-year-old battling leukemia named Hollywood Police ‘Chief for the Day’

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - A 8-year-old South Florida boy who is in remission from leukemia became the “Chief for the Day” of the Hollywood Police Department, Tuesday, thanks to a lieutenant who was given the same diagnosis.

Third-grader Tristan Balea was diagnosed with leukemia two years ago. “The cancer is very hard,” explained little Tristan. “Tough on you.”

He was treated at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and is currently in remission.

Soon after, Hollywood Police Lt. John Marino, a fellow cancer survivor, met Tristan at the hospital, where they both spoke at a luncheon.

Thanks to the lieutenant, Tristan spent the day at the Hollywood Police Department headquarters, where he experienced a meeting, had lunch with Chief Tomas Sanchez, got a SWAT Demo, and even got to go on a boat ride with the Marine Unit.

“I really like the SWAT team,” said Tristan. “I got to play with the sirens.”

Marino brought the 8-year-old around for a building tour from 1:15 to 1:45 p.m.

“You can beat it and you can do whatever you want after that,” Marino told Tristan.

Now, Tristan’s brave battle against cancer has inspired him to help people himself, and his mother couldn’t be more hopeful. “I want him to be silly and be himself, but you know, I guess dream big,” said his mother, Nicoleta Balea.

“I want to be an officer to help people,” said Tristan.

“Everyone was calling him chief,” said his mother, full of pride. “He was telling me in secret, ‘I know what I want to do with the rest of my life.'”

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