Nine-year-old Joshua wants to be a policeman. In his hometown of Kane, he is already an honorary deputy and has a police cruiser dedicated to him. He will excitedly tell you that he was the first to ride in it. He also has over 7,000 patches from police departments around the world. Almost daily, a new patch arrives in the mail at the Ronald McDonald House where he and his mom, Rebecca, are staying.
In May of 2021, Joshua was diagnosed with leukemia. He has been receiving treatment in Pittsburgh, more than 100 miles from home since his diagnosis. Initially, Joshua and his parents traveled once a week for his chemotherapy which gradually increased to every other day, followed by continuous intravenous therapy at home. Then, his physicians recommended a bone marrow transplant.
While Joshua was in the hospital for his transplant, the Allegheny County Police Department organized a parade for him to see from his hospital room. Over 100 police cruisers from 70 different departments around the area lined the street. As Josh and his mom looked on, the police honked their horns and waved to him. His brothers, sister and father were also part of the parade.
After spending nearly four months in the hospital, Joshua joined his mom at the Ronald McDonald House, a place he calls fun. On his first day there, his favorite food was on the menu, brussel sprouts. And as someone who enjoys making crafts, Joshua loves the carts at the House that are filled with craft supplies for families to use. He makes cards for all the staff.
“The staff is what makes the Ronald McDonald House seem like home,” said Rebecca. “They are so happy to see you and always greet you.”
With the exception of the three weeks when Joshua was in the pediatric intensive care unit, Rebecca describes her son as being full of energy throughout his nearly year-long treatment process.
“He is always going nonstop,” said Rebecca.
Currently, Joshua goes to clinic three times a week, taking his stuffed dog with him each time, who mom says gets the same medical treatment as Joshua does. And when he is not there, you can find him wearing his sheriff’s hat as he delivers his specially made cards to his friends at the Ronald McDonald House.
Since this story was written, Joshua is back home with his family where he loves to garden, farm, and of course, make crafts. He is also happy to be with his brothers and sister whom he hadn’t seen for several months.
“I love being home,” said Joshua. “I am playing with my brothers and sister every day and I also get to go to church!”
And his younger sister, Emily, echoes that excitement. “He can play Barbies with me, and I can play farming and zoo with him.”