8-Year Old with Terminal Illness "Sworn In" as Lehigh County Deputy

Deputy Kaleb Holder; Photo: April Bartholomew / The Morning Call

Deputy Kaleb Holder; Photo: April Bartholomew / The Morning Call

An 8-year old boy with a terminal genetic disease realized his dream of becoming a police officer last week as the Lehigh County Sheriff's Office "swore" him in as a deputy in an emotional ceremony.

Kaleb Holder, who in January was diagnosed with adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), couldn't contain his joy. "I feel like's it's a dream," said Kaleb.

Kaleb's mother, Janelle Daly, said that her son likely only has months to live and that the disease will progressively rob Kaleb of his ability to hear, see, and eventually walk, leaving him in a vegetative state prior to passing away.

The ceremony meant a great deal to her son, said Daly. "He only likes cops, firemen and sheriffs. I knew this would be a dream come true for him."

Kaleb continued his special day by driving in a patrol car and meeting with other police officials.

Although the ceremony came amid a period of sadness for the family, Kaleb's mother was grateful. "I'm so, so grateful to the sheriff's department for doing this," Daly said. "They're making his dream come true, just earlier than expected." 

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