A Louisiana family has completed what they said will likely be their last major trip as a family to Fort Polk so their 8-year-old son could fulfill his lifelong dream of joining the military.
The Quibodeaux family took their son, Drake, who is currently in hospice as he battles cancer, to the Army installation so he could be inducted as an honorary soldier.
From USA Today:
The Vinton, Louisiana, boy was diagnosed in March 2018 with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a tumor that originates in the middle of the brain stem. Literature describes the childhood cancer as “terminal on diagnosis,” and mother Danielle Quibodeaux touched on that as she spoke to the media.
“We need these days to get us through the hard days,” said Danielle.
She said there were “no words to describe how thankful we are for the experience and the memories that are gonna be made today.”
During the special day at Fort Polk, Drake and his family were treated to tours, demonstrations and loud explosions.
According to the report, Drake underwent the oath swearing process alongside his father, Christopher, who spoke for him.
A battalion joined Drake as Lt. Col. Sonja Whitehead with the 519th Military Police Battalion administered the oath, USA Today reports.
“It just makes me so proud to see these soldiers really come together and make this special for Drake,” Whitehead said.
Here’s more on Drake:
Before he became sick, Drake loved the outdoors and liked to blow stuff up. They still try to live that outdoor life, said Christopher.
The family had been boating on the day Drake began having seizures. Less than a day later, he’d been airlifted to a New Orleans hospital.
After his diagnosis, a doctor told them to go home and make memories. There is no cure for DIPG.
Outlooks are brutal, according to Danielle. Only 5 percent of patients survive a year, and fewer than 1 percent make it two years.
Drake is 10 days away from one year with the disease.
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.