HENRY COUNTY, Ind.– An Elkhart detective and a 6-year-old boy share a special bond. They’ve both had the same rare form of cancer, three times.
Brantley Taber is battling a rare pediatric cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma.
Elkhart Police Detective Scott Hupp heard about Brantley’s illness and wanted to do something to help.
Detective Hupp has also battled cancer three times in the last five years. He reached out to Brantley’s mother, Kira Rayburn, and discovered that he and Brantley share the same form of cancer.
“At first, I was shocked and surprised that Brantley was able to touch somebody so far away, that his story got to him and touched his heart to the point that he wanted to reach out and get in touch with Brantley,” said Rayburn. “They’re both super brave.”
Hupp made a surprise visit to Brantley’s elementary school on Wednesday. He shared his story with Brantley to encourage him to keep fighting and to never give up.
“There are a lot of things that are similar as far as our surgeries and recovery we’ve been through," said Hupp. "I just want to keep in contact with him and see how he’s doing and be there for him and his family anyway I can.”
In addition to hugs, laughs and words of encouragement, Hupp surprised Brantley with a few gifts from the Elkhart Police Department.
Just a few weeks ago, Brantley was sworn in as an honorary Henry County Sheriff's deputy. Brantley wants to be a police officer when he grows up and says police officers are his heroes.
“He's just amazing," said Hupp. "I know for me personally going through it, there were days I didn’t want to get out of bed. He’s tougher than I am, that’s for sure."
Brantley has maxed out his lifetime doses of chemotherapy and is currently trying trial drugs to treat his cancer.
"He’s ready to keep on trucking, keep touching lives," said Rayburn. "Hopefully we keep bringing more people into our lives, spreading the word and getting some prayer warriors on our back, that’s what we want.”
Hupp is currently cancer free but still receives chemotherapy so the cancer won't come back.
If you'd like to help Brantley's family pay for his treatments, they have set up a GoFundMe page.