Breave young cancer fighter battles baddies with cops
Six-year-old Mitchell Ray has always wanted to "fight baddies".
Little did he know he would get to live out his dream and become and honorary NSW Police recruit.
Mitchell, who has been diagnosed with terminal neuroblastoma, spent the day with NSW Police officers from the Rescue and Bomb Disposal Unit, Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, Marine Area Command and the Parramatta Police Area Command.
Mitchell said he was very excited to hang out with officers and enjoyed riding on the police boat near the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
"(Today was) pretty fun. I loved it," he said.
"I went on a cruise boat. I saw the Opera House (and) was in a police rescue truck and car.
"It was pretty cool."
His mother Erin Ray said her son wanted to grow up to be Iron Man because he "wanted to catch the baddies".
"Meeting the police today, the people who really do catch the baddies, and learning what they do and how they do has been wonderful," she said.
"He keeps saying 'I love it'. He's had such a good time - definitely memorable."
Neuroblastoma is a form of cancer that is made up of cells found in nerve tissues of the body.
Normally, nerve cells called neuroblasts grow into functioning nerve cells. However, with this disease, they become cancerous.
Mitchell was diagnosed with the disease in January and has already been through chemotherapy and undergone surgery. However, he has relapsed.
Mrs Ray said it was the "hardest thing" the family have had to go through.
"He's been through relapse protocol and hasn't been working as we've expected so we're just on a regime to get more time now," she said.
"We haven't had the support we expected with COVID. It's nobody's fault but it's made life harder with so many restrictions on how many people can come to the hospital."
The family-of-four from Dubbo are staying at Ronald McDonald House in Sydney while Mitchell receives treatment at The Children's Hospital at Westmead.
"We're just trying to get through each day, make the most and keep things as normal as we can and also make things special because he's been through so much more than we ever thought he'd have to," Mrs Ray said.
Rescue and Bomb Disposal Unit Senior Sergeant Andrew Sharpe said spending the day with Mitchell and showing him the ropes was the most rewarding job the crew would experience for the year.
"As much as we can, we really like giving back. It's really rewarding for our operators to give back in that way," he said.
"Most people join this job because they like to help people and the ability to help someone who is so brave and in this position is amazing."
A GoFundMe page has been set up and aims to raise $100,000 to help support the family. It has so far reached more than $35,000.
Originally published as Cancer fighter "fights baddies" with NSW cops