Eight-year-old Elayah Chance, despite her young age, has already faced more challenges than most children. Afflicted with a terminal illness that has caused her colon to cease functioning, she relies on a feeding tube to sustain herself. Additionally, she carries the burden of extra chromosomes, which impede her development and render her the equivalent of a three-year-old. Nonetheless, Elayah’s indomitable spirit shines through, earning her the title of a blessing in disguise, as her mother, Michelle, affectionately describes her. Michelle marvels at her daughter’s ability to wear a smile on her face despite her hardships, labeling her the bravest little girl she has ever encountered.
Recently, Elayah’s infectious smile and unwavering courage were on full display when she had her heartfelt wish fulfilled – to become a police officer, even if only for a day. This extraordinary experience was made possible through the collaboration between the Make-A-Wish program and the Plainfield Police Department. With the solemnity of a judge’s presence, Elayah was sworn in, officially becoming an honorary police officer.
The choice of becoming a police officer may seem surprising for an eight-year-old girl, but Elayah’s reasons are simple and pure. She exclaims, “I love everybody. If somebody does something bad, I want to arrest them.” Her fascination with law enforcement extends beyond mere curiosity. At home, Elayah often engages in imaginative play, enacting the role of a police officer. Her favorite television show, “Chicago P.D.,” further fuels her passion.
Elayah’s day as a police officer was an unforgettable adventure. She enthusiastically participated in simulated arrests, apprehending imaginary criminals. Moreover, she showcased her extraordinary skills by successfully locating missing children. The Plainfield Police Department, captivated by her infectious enthusiasm, documented her entire day, capturing moments of a thrilling police chase and heartwarming rescues.
While witnessing her daughter live out her dream, Michelle experienced a whirlwind of emotions. Tears of joy streamed down her face as she realized the profound meaning behind Elayah’s wish. However, a tinge of sadness accompanied her happiness, as she recognized the significance of the Make-A-Wish program. Nevertheless, Michelle expressed her utmost happiness for her daughter’s once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The Plainfield Police Department, humbled and honored by Elayah’s choice, acknowledged that their officers gained more from the experience than she did. Deputy Chief Joe Aldridge emphasized the tendency to take for granted the daily privilege of serving as a police officer. Elayah’s unwavering passion served as a powerful reminder of the significance of their work.
As her eventful day drew to a close, Elayah entered a gymnasium filled with adoring supporters, eager to celebrate her extraordinary achievement. In a touching gesture, Governor Holcomb bestowed upon her the title of a Distinguished Hoosier. Michelle, overcome with emotion, expressed her fervent desire for her daughter to forever cherish this moment. She believes that if Elayah can display such strength, anyone can.
Elayah’s story is a testament to the incredible resilience and determination that exists within the human spirit, transcending age and circumstance. Despite her terminal illness and developmental limitations, Elayah’s unwavering spirit and unyielding love for others have propelled her to become an honorary police officer, if only for a day. Her bravery and infectious smile serve as a reminder to cherish every moment and find joy amidst life’s challenges.