Terminally ill toddler becomes honorary New York firefighter and gets to hug his heroes

When Trucker Dukes was just a one year old he was diagnosed with a childhood cancer known as neuroblastoma, and in stage 4.

He bravely battled harsh treatments for two years until his little body could fight no more.

During his short life he touched the hearts of so many and always had a beautiful beaming smile on his face.

One group of people he won the hearts of was the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY).


Having a dad who was a firefighter and loving anything firefighter related Trucker believed he was one of them, and this little brave boy was welcomed into their group with open arms.

He was even made an honorary junior firefighter by the FDNY.

“It’s incredible,” Shauna Dukes said Saturday. “That little guy touched so many hearts, and I’m really proud to be his mom.” Maui News Sunday paper. #TruckerRidesWithUs

Gepostet von Team Trucker – Trucker Dukes Supporters am Sonntag, 5. März 2017

His mom Shauna took Trucker to New York City to receive treatment after he was diagnosed with cancer.

When Trucker was in New York he stayed at the Ronald McDonald House.

After a day exploring the city with his mom they returned to find NYC firefighters at the building responding to an incident.

Gepostet von Team Trucker – Trucker Dukes Supporters am Montag, 2. November 2015

Thankfully it was nothing serious but as soon as Trucker saw the firefighters he had to go and say hello.

“I see this little boy excitedly walking towards me with his eyes aglow. I opened my arms and he basically climbed up and hugged me around the neck. It was as if we’ve been friends/brothers for years,” FDNY Captain Jim Grismer said to the Huffington Post.

Share if you LOVE Trucker's smile and HATE cancer. #TeamTrucker #TruckerCan #CancerSucks http://teamtrucker.givingfuel.com/team-trucker

Gepostet von Team Trucker – Trucker Dukes Supporters am Donnerstag, 10. März 2016

In May 2016, the FDNY told ABC News that Trucker was sworn in as a FDNY Junior Firefighter on May 31, 2016. He also celebrated his third birthday with a party hosted by some of the firefighters from FDNY.

“He actually thinks he’s a firefighter in New York. We’ve had unbelievable support from firefighters all across the world, actually,” Shauna told ABC News.

Making memories

Trucker’s dad Joshua Dukes is a firefighter in Maui, Hawaii, where the family are from so Joshua has a love of all things firefighter-related.

The family, which set up the social media campaign “#TruckerToughChallenge,” decided to stop the tough treatments and took him home to Maui to treat him nutritionally, The Maui News reported.

He, his three older siblings, and his parents made the most of the time they had together, making memories including a trip to Whistler, British Columbia, where they learned how to snowboard.

Gepostet von Team Trucker – Trucker Dukes Supporters am Sonntag, 11. Januar 2015

Sadly, sweet little Trucker passed away at his Hawaii home on March 3, 2017, in his mother’s arms. The news was announced on Team Trucker, the Facebook page dedicated to the young boy.

“Trucker’s passing has been the hardest experience you can imagine. Now we get to celebrate his extraordinary life,” his mother Shauna said in a statement to ABC News.

SHARE if you agree that this picture melts your heart. Pictured at FDNY Engine 39/Ladder 16, Trucker Dukes and Capt. Jim…

Gepostet von Team Trucker – Trucker Dukes Supporters am Sonntag, 20. März 2016

After Trucker’s passing, the fire departments in New York City and Maui paid tribute to him by putting his name on their riding list.

Ever since Trucker’s passing his family have been working hard to raise awareness of pediatric cancer.

“I don’t know what the future looks like for us, but I’ll never stop raising awareness. Hopefully, one day there’s something less toxic and not as harsh for someone else’s baby,” Shauna told The Maui News.

A kiss from a boy to his mommy is so lovely. A reward. This kiss is beautiful for a thousand reasons. LET'S SEND THIS…

Gepostet von Team Trucker – Trucker Dukes Supporters am Montag, 18. April 2016

Trucker’s father posted a picture on their Facebook page of the headstone dedicated to their precious and brave son.

“It’s so strange because I’m somehow comforted that your headstone is installed now and honors you and your legendary life, but heartbroken because no matter how many times I visit your grave I know you’re not here with us.

“I miss you so much kiddo. It feels like I have a hole ripped in my heart,” the post read.

Trucker Dukes. One year memorial and plaque presentation ceremony today at FDNY Engine 39/Ladder 16. Photo by Honolulu Fire Fighter Fred Cresanto #TruckerRidesWithUs #TeamTrucker

Gepostet von Team Trucker – Trucker Dukes Supporters am Samstag, 3. März 2018

It makes me so angry that kids have to fight this evil disease and families have to endure such immense pain as a result.

Please share to pay tribute to Tucker’s bravery and all the other children fighting this horrific disease. Rest in peace sweet Trucker.