Miami-Dade Police dispatcher helps boy diagnosed with cancer collect police patches

DORAL, FLA. (WSVN) - South Florida police officers stepped up in a major way to help a 12-year-old boy diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

Jeremiah Derks from Kokomo, Indiana always wanted to be a police officer.

And so came the idea to collect police patches from coast to coast to comfort him during his battle with cancer.

“I feel like that those cops are here with me,” said Derks. “They’re friendly. They’re really just pretty much heroes to everybody.”

Annabel Lee, a long-time Miami-Dade Police dispatcher, heard about Derks’ call for patches.

Lee did what she does best and dispatched the call.

“Within minutes, I started getting comments and posts, phone calls and texts from all sorts of officers asking me exactly what I needed, what I wanted,” Lee said. “If holding a patch or a badge makes him feel like the police is with him, he’s got all these police officers at home with him while he recovers.”

Officers from all over the county answered the call and collected everything they could for Derks.

“Everyone here collectively decided they wanted to be involved,” said Sgt. Kessler Brooks, with North Miami Police. “There couldn’t be anything more rewarding than to see him receive it and fulfill his wish.”

From a rare Super Bowl badge to medals, awards, undercover gear, letters of support and lots of patches.

“This child finds comfort and strength in just holding one,” said Miami-Dade Police Officer Joseph Naranjo.

Derks and his family have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the officers.

“It’s been really rough just seeing a kid have to go through all this,” said the 12-year-old’s mother, Alisha Derks.

As Derks fights through chemotherapy, Miami-Dade County has got his back with many messages of support:

“Hey Jeremiah, we wish you all the best and we got your six.”

“Stay strong and never give up on your dreams.”

“We are looking out for you.”

“I want you to know that you’re in our hearts and in our prayers, and we’re rooting for you.”

“Jeremiah, stay strong. We’re with you. We wish you the best.”

“We’re pulling for you. We love you just like you love us. Godspeed”

“Godspeed, Jeremiah. We got your six. Can’t wait to see you on the force.”

Click here for more information on how to donate to the Derks family.

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