WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Dozens of first responders from across Rhode Island and Massachusetts banded together Monday evening to lift the spirits of a Warwick toddler battling cancer.
First responders from 40 local police departments, as well as firefighters from surrounding communities, took part in a drive-by parade of lights for 2-year-old Rowan Shaw, who was diagnosed with high-risk metastatic neuroblastoma last year.
Since Shaw is battling an aggressive and rare form of cancer, he will be undergoing one-and-a-half years worth of chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy.
But small events like this one, according to Shaw’s uncle Daniel Rayhall, are exactly what he needs to keep him going.
“For him always trying to be the strong one for the family is sometimes the hardest,” he said.
Warwick Police Sgt. Matthew Higgins, who helped organize the parade, said he wanted to do something that would lift Shaw’s spirits.
Higgins said the best part of the parade was being able to see the smile on Shaw’s face.
Rayhall said because of a recent round of radiation, his nephew couldn’t go outside to watch the parade, but still loved watching it from his living room window.
“It’s awesome, the thumbs up he kept giving, the little claps,” Rayhall said. “He’s a fighter. He’s going to come out stronger in the end no matter what.”
Warwick Mayor Frank Picozzi also participated in the parade, and said it was “one of the most incredible things he’s ever seen.”
“I am so very proud of our first responders and our entire community,” he said in a social media post soon after the event ended. “We have your back and we love you Rowan!”