Dover family thanks Philadelphia police officer for lending helping hand

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A Philadelphia police officer helped a mother and her son cope with a difficult situation. (WPVI)

If there's one thing the MacLeish family of Dover knows firsthand, it's that life is unpredictable - sometimes devastatingly so.

"He fell at school playing basketball, hit his head, passed out," said April MacLeish of Dover, Delaware.

That fall and the following doctor's visit marked the beginning of a difficult journey.

"Basically that he had a tumor in his brain, and from the knowledge that they had, that he had six months to live," said MacLeish.

It was an inoperable brain tumor.

Tuesdays are now dedicated to an 80-mile drive from Dover to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for the 13-year-old's treatments.

But this Tuesday they'd be thrown yet another curve ball.

"My car shut off. I started it back up, it shut back off again," said MacLeish. "We made it to the hospital. I cried for a few minutes in the car."

The MacLeish family barely made it to the hospital for Thomas' treatment. That is where staff found out about their car troubles, and with a couple of phone calls, they made sure mother and son were taken care of.

"They contacted the local police department, the Philadelphia Police Department, and asked if an officer would take us home," said MacLeish.

Philadelphia police officer Timothy McNicholas answered the call.

He often volunteers with a nonprofit organization called Kisses for Kyle, that assists the families of children battling cancer.

"I opted to use my own vehicle: 1. Because it's mine. 2. Because I thought the young kid might like my Jeep," said McNicholas

They made the nearly 2-hour drive down to Dover.

"I just wanted to help them out. They seemed like they needed my help," said McNicholas.

"I was just happy that he took us home and I was thankful for him," said Thomas Carey of Dover.

"I just really hope that he understands that what he did for our family means more than words could ever express," said MacLeish.
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newsdelaware newsphiladelphia policechildren's healthchildren's hospital of philadelphiaDover
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