The family of a dying 8-year-old boy recently saw their wish fulfilled after the youngster was named an honorary U.S. Marine, a title that is bestowed to only a few people each year.
Abc7.com reported that 29-year-old Jeremiah Gillette’s son Wyatt has Aicardi-Goutierres Syndrome Type 1, a rare disease that causes seizures and kidney failure, and requires more than 15 daily medications.
"He's doing daily dialysis because he's in complete kidney failure," his mother, Felishia, told the news station, as she stayed by Wyatt's hospital bed at Children's Hospital of Orange County in Orange, California. "Both the kidneys are in complete total failure. They're 0 percent."
Jeremiah is a Marine drill instructor and first laid eyes on his son when he returned from Iraq eight years ago. When Wyatt’s condition recently worsened, Jeremiah reached out to his friends in the Marines for prayers. In turn, they started a Change.org petition to help Wyatt be named an honorary Marine. Being named an honorary Marine requires a lengthy review process, the news station reported.
"That would mean the world to me," Jeremiah told abc7.com of the prospective honor. "I've had two goals in my lifetime— to be a Marine and to be a drill instructor. If he was a normal child, he's just got that spirit that I think he would have joined the Marine Corps as well."
Within a matter of days, the online petition for Wyatt garnered more than 3,000 signatures.
Tuesday night, Jeremiah took to Facebook to share the news of the Marine Corps’ response to the outpouring of support:
"Well everyone, I spoke with my Battalion Commander," he wrote on Facebook. "This Morning General Robert B. Neller, the Commandant of the Marine Corps approved Wyatt to become an honorary U.S. Marine."
"Felishia, myself and especially Wyatt want to thank you all so much,” he added in the post.