Community members in Asheboro, North Carolina, gave a little boy several Christmas surprises this week to lift his spirits.
Last week, nine-year-old William Sidebottom, who was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, asked people to fill his mailbox with holiday cards, according to WRAL.
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William had his first open-heart surgery when he was just 10 days old. At age 6, he finally got a heart transplant, but only three years later, his body has begun rejecting the new heart. According to his mother, William’s doctor says the boy is dying. He’s not a candidate for a new heart transplant due to the high risk his body will reject it.
To make his Christmas wish come true, people from across North Carolina and as far away as Australia sent him heartfelt cards in an effort to make him smile.
However, that was not the only surprise William received, according to WFMY.
This week, the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office decided to make his Christmas even more special by giving him a ride to his elementary school in an armored BearCat.
“I couldn’t imagine going through what they are going through and just something that I felt need [sic] to be done and that the sheriff’s office is not about just arresting people and looking to get people in trouble,” said Corporal Peter Beland.
“We do care about our community, and we do want to show it in any way we can.”
When William arrived at school, he was greeted by cheers from his fellow classmates and several exotic and classic cars.
“It felt really cool, and I was saying ‘Wee woo wee woo’ and ‘Merry Christmas,'” the boy said.
In addition to the car show, deputies had one last surprise for their new friend.
“We wanted to do a little more for you than just Christmas cards, so this is what we come up with,” Beland said as a SWAT truck’s doors were opened, revealing a trove of Christmas gifts and cards for William.
Following the big day, William expressed his thanks to everyone for showing him their love and support.
“It helps me to forget about certain things that I don’t want to think of,” he concluded.