A Rhode Island boy battling leukemia got the birthday surprise of a lifetime this morning as hundreds of police officers, firefighters and EMS personnel hand-delivered birthday cards to him.
A convoy of more than 200 police vehicles and fire trucks from New England and beyond traveled to Burrillville, R.I., this morning, where they picked up 7-year-old Tyler Seddon and took him to the police station to be sworn in as an honorary Chief of Burrillville. Seddon was also named honorary Governor of Rhode Island for a day by Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee.
Tyler then headed to a local restaurant for a chance to have birthday cake with the first responders he loves.
- Hingham Police (@HinghamPolice) March 6, 2014
The huge birthday celebration comes four years after Tyler was diagnosed with the leukemia the he is battling for the second time. Tyler has been undergoing chemotherapy treatments while awaiting a bone marrow donor.
"It was overwhelming," Maj. Larry Guglietta of the Burrillville Police Department told ABC News. "I mean the outpouring of support from police and fire, we estimated it was 800 public safety officials present."
Tyler's mother, Rachel, initiated a Facebook campaign to collect birthday cards from police officers and firefighters. The campaign soon went viral.
"The parents were overwhelmed, this all started off with a request on Facebook and it just took off from there and it took on a life of its own," Guiglietta said. "We had a caravan that lasted for miles."
Burrillville police said at one point a section of a local highway needed to be shut down in order to accommodate police and fire vehicles that could not fit in the 450-space parking lot at the restaurant hosting Tyler's celebration.
First responders from as far away as Kentucky made the trip in order to wish Tyler well.
"Like a lot of people, I read Tyler's story online, but it kind of touched me a little more personal having a little boy the same age as Tyler," Sgt. Jamey Kidd of Kentucky told ABC News affiliate station WLNE-TV. Kidd traveled more than 14 hours to wish Tyler a happy birthday.
Woburn Officers arrive in Burrillville RI to wish Tyler a happy birthday. pic.twitter.com/eOW5QupMev
- Woburn Police (@WoburnPolice) March 6, 2014
"I would like to wish you a happy birthday and congratulate you on your strength and courage," police officer Michael Hunt wrote on the event's official Facebook page. "You truly define what it means to be a Police Officer."
- ManchesterMAPD (@ManchesterMAPD) March 6, 2014
Get-well wishes poured in from thousands of miles away. The Los Angeles Police Department crafted a special birthday message for Tyler, posting the video to YouTube.
"Tyler, once again, happy birthday, you stay in the fight little brother, you're going to do great," Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck said.