4-year-old Juddie Rivers Malcolm is a real trooper!

Even through cancer, 4-year-old Juddie Rivers Malcolm is a real trooper

Rivers Malcolm checks out his newly acquired handcuffs after he was sworn in as an honorary state trooper at Linda’s Restaurant in Pembroke on Friday

 By Ali Rockett Staff writer
Story PhotoPEMBROKE Juddie Rivers Malcolm stood grinning on a chair, his right hand raised high in the air.

“I do!” he said.

And with that, the 4-year-old became the newest – and most certainly the youngest – Highway Patrol trooper in North Carolina on Friday.

The packed crowd watching at Linda’s Restaurant erupted in cheers. He was now officially a man in uniform, just like the troopers whose hearts he had touched when they first met him three months ago.

It was at the same restaurant. Retired Sgt. Michael Chavis was having lunch.

“At the time, he didn’t have any hair,” Chavis said. “He had just gotten out of the hospital. He was going from table to table, just lighting them up.”

A group of officers walked into the restaurant, and Rivers’ eyes widened.

“The thing about this young’un is this: He’s been hospitalized 50 times,” Chavis said. “Somebody forgot to tell him to be upset. He’s always smiling. He’s always happy. He’s such an inspiration to so many people. He’s such a blessing to this community.”

Rivers was diagnosed in September 2010 with Wilms’ tumor, a type of rare childhood cancer found in the kidneys. His father, Joshua Malcolm, said the cancer had metastasized to Rivers’ lungs. He has relapsed twice, most recently in December. This spring, he underwent an aggressive chemotherapy treatment and a stem cell transplant.

That was when Rivers met Chavis.

“I said to myself, this boy is a trooper,” Chavis said.

Rivers is cancer-free now, his father said, and doctors will do another checkup in July to determine whether the latest rounds of therapy were successful.

But Friday, no one in the restaurant would have known from the boy’s smile what he’s been through.

He was dressed in a tan button-up shirt with authentic trooper patches and a plastic badge. He wore black slacks, cowboy boots and a trooper’s hat. A final touch – a pair of shiny handcuffs.

Superior Court Judge Greg Bell administered the oath. And Sgt. Ardeen Hunt presented his newest recruit a plaque that certified Rivers as call No. 759 with Troop B, District 7, the division that patrols Robeson County.

“This young man will always be part of Troop B,” Hunt said. “He doesn’t know it, but he just got 26 more family members today.”

After the ceremony, Rivers sat down to eat with six fellow troopers. Next Saturday, he will ride with them in the Lumbee Homecoming parade in Pembroke.

The boy’s father sat a few tables away.

“He’s like a hog in the mud,” Malcolm said. “He doesn’t know any of those guys. What makes the connection is that they’re all dressed alike.”

Malcolm, who is general counsel for the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, said his son spent 50 nights in the hospital in 2012. The family often commutes daily to Chapel Hill so that Rivers can be near his family during treatments.

“We want him to be home,” Malcolm said.

That’s why they chose to celebrate at Linda’s.

“He’s special to a lot of people here,” Malcolm said. “You can’t go through this alone.”

reprint from http://fayobserver.com/articles/2013/06/29/1266575

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