On Thursday, 3-year-old cancer patient Wyatt Schmaltz was sworn in as the nation’s youngest special sheriff deputy from his hospital room in Indianapolis.
In April, Wyatt was diagnosed with aggressive, stage 4 neuroblastoma and has undergone several rounds of chemotherapy. Soon, he’ll undergo surgery to remove a tumor from his abdomen and he will also undergo a stem cell transplant.
As a tribute to his courage throughout his treatments, an Indiana sheriff and a state trooper visited Wyatt at his room in Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, giving him the powers of a sheriff deputy – as well as a badge and uniform. Terry Stoffel, a sheriff for Huntington County, noted that the title is an official designation.
"We have given Wyatt all the powers of a real sheriff deputy, which are to carry out the orders of the sheriff. Right now, his only orders are to get better,” Stoffel said.
According to doctors at Riley Hospital, such acts of kindness can really help to make children well again.
"Gestures like this really aid the healing process for our patients," said Dr. Michele Saysana, a pediatrician with Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. "It brought tears to our team members’ eyes to see officers, who are sworn to protect and serve, travel to pay tribute to one of our patients."
After being sworn in, Wyatt asked: “What else do you have?”