Today Wyatt Schmaltz becomes the youngest sheriff in America at just three years old. The event transpired in Indianapolis at Indiana University’s Riley Hospital where Schmaltz has been staying. He received a diagnosis back in April of stage 4 neuroblastoma.
Since his diagnosis, Schmaltz has received chemotherapy. His next round of treatment will include a stem cell transplant as well as a surgical procedure to take out the tumor that’s grown in his abdomen.
The decision to make Schmaltz a sheriff was made by Terry Stoffel. He works as an actual sheriff in nearby Huntington County and was responsible for giving Schmaltz, his badge due to his bravery.
Stoffel later spoke of the event, saying: “We have given Wyatt, all the powers of a real sheriff deputy, which are to carry out the orders of the sheriff. Right now, his only orders are to get better.”
Dr. Michele Sasyana of the Riley Hospital for Children notes that moments like these, which not always necessarily on such a grand scale, can actually improve the health of patients. “Gestures like this really aid the healing process for our patients. It brought tears to our team members’ eyes to see officers, who are sworn to protect and serve, travel to pay tribute to one of our patients,” she said.