A Mississippi boy becomes an Honorary Alaska State Trooper for a day!

A bright-eyed 11-year-old boy from Mississippi got to venture into Alaskan wilderness to meet his favorite state troopers this past week. But this isn’t just any boy, and these aren’t just any officers. Blaine Breaux has been battling cancer since he was 10. His cancer is acute lymphoblastic leukemia, to be exact, which affects blood cells and the immune system. ALL is a cancer of the bone marrow and blood, and progresses rapidly without treatment, according to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It starts in a stem cell in bone marrow, but can spread to other areas, such as the central nervous system and lymph nodes. As a result, the number of healthy blood cells in someone with ALL is often much lower than normal and necessary. “I ain't never been hit so hard in my life when they told me Blaine had cancer,” said Blaine’s dad, Perry Breaux. “It really tears you up.” Without good red cells, white cells and platelets, people with ALL often suffer from anemia, which can cause fatigue, shortness of breath and easy bruising; neutropenia, which makes it so the person’s immune system can’t guard him or her against infection; and thrombocytopenia, which can cause bleeding and bruising without apparent cause, according to LLS. “It's hard; things are different,” said Kim Breaux, Blaine’s mom. “We thought he just had the flu. Even the doctors told us, ‘You're gonna have a new way of living, and when your normal life comes back, when all this is done, you're gonna have to get used to living normal again.’” Blaine has had more than 20 spinal taps since being diagnosed with ALL. He does some form of chemotherapy every day, and had a blood transfusion shortly before traveling cross-country to the Last Frontier. He can’t eat raw foods and has to take methotrexate pills that knock him out for days at a time. Almost 25,000 are expected to die from leukemia in 2016 alone. But thankfully, Blaine is one of many children who have made it to what’s called the “maintenance” stage of ALL. It isn’t total remission, his mom said, but it means there’s a good chance Blaine will totally make it out of the woods, as it were. “When they came and told us, I was in shock, but I prepared myself,” Blaine’s mom Kim said. “I just had a feeling, for some reason. And then my thoughts were [around] having to go to a funeral home and make arrangements. It's crazy.” While treatments have pulled Blaine out of traditional schooling and put him in a hospital more often than not, thanks to the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Alaska State Troopers, Blaine got to forget about the cancer he’s courageously battling - at least, for a day. “He's not thinking about that right now,” Perry said. “He's thinking about how beautiful this is. And that's wonderful.” Because of an implanted port in his upper left chest for delivering cancer-fighting drugs, Blaine can’t play contact sports or do anything too physical. So these days, he’s playing a lot of golf. But he’s always been an avid hunter and wilderness explorer, and has always wanted to meet the everyday heroes from his favorite television show: Alaska State Troopers. “For someone in his condition, fighting the fight he's fighting, to want to spend the day with us, is pretty amazing,” said Sgt. Doug Massie of the Mat-Su West Post for Wildlife Troopers. “I'm honored.” So after a weekend of treatments, Blaine, along with his mom, dad, two brothers and grandmother, hopped on a flight to Alaska where Blaine’s wish was granted. And then some. “I can't explain it,” Blaine’s dad said. “It's just wonderful seeing Blaine light up.” Blaine met a full squad of troopers before becoming an honorary state trooper for the day. He hopped in a squad car and spent the morning reviewing fishing licenses and boating permits on the Susitna River. That was before checking in at a trooper cabin in the woods for lunch and taking an hour-long helicopter ride over Deshka Landing. “There aren't enough words to explain how exciting it is for him,” Blaine’s mom said. “It's just overwhelming.” And as it turns out, Blaine was inspiring his heroes. “A person that's fighting the battles he's fighting, fighting the illness he's fighting,” Massie said. “It totally puts life into perspective. What's important, what's not important. Those little things you kind of overlook? You pay a little more attention.”

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