SEARCY, Ark. (KTHV) – Dozens of officers in Arkansas and around the country are rallying behind a 15-year-old Ohio boy battling a rare form of cancer.
Gavin Campbell was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma last November. He dreams of becoming a police officer to help people in their times of need.
Barak Stafford of Searcy wants to help make his dreams come true. Stafford is encouraging officers in Arkansas to send their patches and medals to Gavin to let him know Arkansas has his back while he fights his own battle.
"Every patch that comes through the mail says ‘hey we're for you, we're fighting for you, we're behind you," Stafford said.
Stafford heard about Gavin through good friend Cody Berry. Berry moved to Ohio for a few years to be a pastor where Gavin and his family attended church.
“I just think it’s cool that somebody will rally around someone they don’t even know to encourage them, to lift them up,” Berry said.
Stafford helped create Friends of Police to encourage officers to use community policing. Berry thought Stafford could use his platform for police officers to reach out. Stafford since reached out to police departments in Arkansas to let them know about Gavin's story, and dozens of officers have responded by sending in patches they wore on the job.
“[This officer] could have given [this patch] to one of his grandchildren, but he's going to give it to Gavin to hopefully bring some happiness and joy," he said.
It’s not just Arkansas police officers who are sending Gavin patches. Gavin's parents said departments from all over the world are, too.
"As the day goes, more and more keep flooding in, it’s a major blessing," Gavin’s dad Michael Campbell said. "Whatever police department decides to send, we're grateful because we know it touches Gavin. It helps him through his time of battling cancer right now."
Stafford is receiving messages from all over the country, too.
"I'm getting response from Mississippi. There will be a couple patches that are in the mail from the California Highway Patrol," he said.
Despite Gavin's battle with cancer, support from officer's all over gives him the encouragement to hopefully become one, too.
"That's his dream. You've got to follow your dreams," Michael Campbell said.
Campbell said they have received over 200 patches so far. They plan on making a blanket out of some of them. Stafford said once he receives all the patches and gifts, he will make the 900 mile trip to Ohio to personally deliver them to Gavin.
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