Today, I got an interesting request from a jolly old man. SANTA… as in Claus! Santa contacted me wanting to do something special for the Dukes family. A few days ago, Trucker’s mother, father, siblings and numerous family members and friends shaved their heads in support of little Trucker. Santa found out about this and thought it might put a smile on Trucker’s face to see Santa do the same! He’s hoping to also raise awareness of Trucker’s predicament and other keiki dealing with the same tragic situation.
Santa parked his reindeer in a meadow Upcountry and flew his sled down to the Kīhei Fire Station this morning. He was pretty tired from a long night of work but wanted to do one last thing before resting up and returning to the North Pole.
Santa sat outside the Kīhei Fire Station right in front of Engine 6 and had his head shaved by Kapena Segundo – a firefighter who works on Joshua’s crew.
We Facetimed the Dukes ohana but Trucker was asleep so the rest of the family chatted and watched Santa go down to the skin! Joshua’s captain, Bram Denhaan, was next. He explained to me that firefighters from across the county have been covering Joshua’s shifts. Some even taking vacation so that they could work for him. Today, firefighter Chad Leggit, from Lāna’i, was working for Joshua. Firefighter III Kapena showed me the sign up list. Every day is covered! It gave me chicken skin to see that guys from all over, no matter what their rank, were all stepping up to help a family in need.
Joe Shutsa, from C watch in Kīhei, knows the Dukes family well. It wasn’t his shift today but he came to shave his head in support of Team Trucker. He said he’s amazed by how people around Hawaii and beyond have rallied behind this family and finds the message of love and coming together to be inspiring and full of hope.
My brief encounters with this family and those that love and support them has truly touched my heart. Thank you to firefighter Tyler Pascual – my last minute stand in for a “camera man” – for helping me document this awesome day. Hopefully seeing Santa shave his head bald puts a smile on Trucker’s face this Christmas Day!
In addition to shaving his head, Santa Claus had four puppy dogs he was hoping to find happy homes for before they get sent to the land of misfit toys. He will deliver the pup himself to any family that would like to become an adoptive family. Any donations are greatly appreciated and will go directly to #TeamTrucker. If you would like Santa to deliver a doggie to your door, let me know and I will arrange for it. It has to be done before Tuesday though! Santa is headed back to the North Pole…
You can donate to Trucker’s Give Forward campaign by clicking here.
Here is a link to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals where you can choose a children’s hospital in your area to donate to. **For Hawaii, it’s Kapiolani Hospital (this is also where Trucker is undergoing his surgeries and treatments).**
#teamtrucker Team Trucker – Trucker Dukes Supporters
Here is the initial story I did on the Dukes Ohana >>
Ten days ago I conducted the hardest interview of my life. I interviewed the father of a child with cancer. I’ve been reflecting a lot on… Life. It’s so precious. Joshua Dukes told me to do something for him… “Hug your keiki. You’re not guaranteed tomorrow, only today”… I’m taking that to heart.
The images of his son – 20-month-old Trucker Dukes – recently diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma (an aggressive form of childhood cancer), had me working through tears as I edited our interview. My heart goes out to Trucker and his ohana during this difficult time and to all those facing extreme life challenges.