In December 2012, Wren Maddox was one of hundreds of area police officers who ventured by cruiser caravan to Virginia to meet Nathan Norman, a young boy battling brain cancer.
Nathan’s wish was to receive cards from police officers, firefighters and ambulance workers — professionals he’d had some contact with since being diagnosed with brain cancer when he was just 1 1/2 years old.
Some 14 months later, Maddox remains in close contact with Nathan, now 7, and his family. The 11-year-veteran Dracut police officer designed and is now selling Christmas ornaments bearing Nathan’s image to raise awareness, education and research funding for pediatric cancer.
All proceeds from the ornament sales go a foundation launched by Nathan’s family, Hope4Tomorrow.org.
“Every child deserves a future. Your support will help ensure they get one,” Maddox, who is married to Lawrence native Diane Faria, wrote on a Facebook page she’s dedicated to Nathan.
Both Maddox and Faria went to Virginia to meet Nathan in December 2012. They were among 250 police officers in 100 marked cruisers that made the journey to meet Nathan, who views first responders “as his heroes,” she said.
Maddox said she was immediately impressed by Nathan’s upbeat nature, attitude and constant smile. “It really touched me,” she said. “His family is so positive.”
Nathan’s mother, Dawn Norman, stresses that her son is “not dying of cancer but living with cancer,” Maddox said.
Just recently, Nathan’s fight became more difficult, as his brain and spinal tumors are not responding to treatment. But Maddox writes on the Facebook page she’s dedicated to him, “He is a giant well of strength, smiles and heroism, wrapped in adorable package.”
She said the Norman’s positive attitude toward life and desire to make the most of everyday is a mantra she herself lives by.
“I firmly believe that life is all about the spin,” Maddox said. “That how you look at life is how you live it. And I firmly believe that makes all the difference in the world. And I think I have a good life because I believe that.”
To start, Maddox ordered 250 of Nathan’s ornaments, which sell for $14.99 each or $11.99 each if you purchase larger quantities.
Ornaments can be purchased through the Facebook page; Nathan’s Christmas Wish — Pediatric Cancer Awareness.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.