It started out just like any other day for Dian Green. But by the time the sun set on Saturday, the 12-year-old went home with a badge and an honorary title: junior chief of police.
The ceremony came as a surprise for the Winnipeg cancer patient — who grew up dreaming of becoming an officer like so many of his relatives — thanks to his family keeping it under wraps until the big day.
“He was so shocked,” his mom Rachel Green said on Sunday.
Now receiving palliative care as he battles osteosarcoma, the third type of cancer he’s had since age two, Dian usually has little energy.
But on Saturday, he amazed everyone as he blazed through the swearing-in ceremony at the Treaty Three Police Service headquarters, then went for a ride-along with some of the officers.
“That just goes to show how happy he was, although he was nervous and shy. But that’s just his little character,” Rachel said.
The day meant a lot to Rachel’s whole family, who are Anishinaabe from Iskatewizaagegan #39 Independent First Nation in northwestern Ontario.
Her grandfather, Joseph Red Thunder Boy, had been instrumental in starting the First Nations police service in Kenora, she said.
And her dad — Dian’s grandfather, Gary Tom — was one of the constables who went out with Dian on his first patrol as an honorary police chief Saturday.
Dian said it was one of his favourite parts of the whole day.
“It was fun and cool to be in the cop car with my papa,” he said.
That, and getting to hold the sword used in his swearing-in ceremony, he said.
Green’s family is also part of the bear clan — which is why she thinks so many of them have gone into policing.
“Part of those responsibilities as being a family of that bear clan, it’s to take care of our people,” she said.
They’re traditional teachings she was brought up learning, and ones she’s imparted on her three sons.
So when Dian left the police headquarters on Saturday carrying a badge with his name on it, he couldn’t have been prouder.
He even wanted to wear it into a Walmart they stopped at on the way home, Green said.
“Everybody that was involved made his dream come to life of becoming a police officer,” she said. “He is very honoured.”
The last few years have been “an emotional roller coaster” for the tight-knit family, Green said.
But through all the surgeries and needle pokes, they’re thankful for the time they get to spend with Dian, and for all the memories they’re making together.
This spring, Dian got to virtually meet his hero, NHL player Sidney Crosby. His family also gifted the Pittsburgh Penguins captain a team medallion that matched one Green had already made for her son.
“Sometimes, even for us, it’s hard to even say that he’s sick because he doesn’t seem sick. Because he’s … always laughing and always making everybody around him laugh,” she said.
“All we can do is take things day by day and just always, always give thanks.”