The downtown Apex Police Department won’t be handing out candy on Halloween, but the officers aren’t lacking holiday spirit.
The community policing team will be busy over the next few weeks outfitting a costume for 4-year-old Brady Chan, who wants to dress up as a police car for Halloween.
Brady, who recently had a birthday, has been in a wheelchair for much of his life. But his mother, Mimi Chan, hasn’t let that stop him from going trick-or-treating.
“Since there’s so many things he can’t do, I wanted to make this really special,” she said.
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Last year, she transformed Brady’s motorized chair into a fire truck. But this year, she hasn’t had the time to create the cop car. She just got a new job, recently moved from Cary to Raleigh and has a newborn.
She posted a message asking for help to a Facebook group for moms in Cary and Apex. Susan Metz, a member of the group who works at the front desk of the Apex Police Department, volunteered her coworkers.
Last week, the Chans stopped by the station so Sgt. Greg Towell and officers Matt Hunter and J.T. Allen could take measurements for the costume and talk strategy.
Now they’re working on cutting cardboard to the proper specs, with plans to model the costume after their own patrol cars – using the same grey, black and yellow paint scheme, and with authentic reflective material for increased visibility.
“And of course we’ll incorporate some flashing lights on it,” Towell said.
Chan said she and her husband plan to dress up in themed costumes, one as a prisoner and the other an officer, with Brady the police car, of course, the center of attention.
Brady has spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disease similar to ALS that robs its victims of strength and dexterity, typically leading to an early death.
Diagnosed at 18 months old, Brady can’t walk and will gradually lose more strength as he ages. Not even old enough to start school, he already does physical therapy twice a week to try to slow the inevitable degeneration.
About 1 in 50 Americans are carriers for the disease, and it affects about 1 in 10,000 babies, according to the website for Cure SMA.
But, Chan said, there is hope for Brady and other kids like him. A study at Duke University is close to obtaining approval to test an experimental drug treatment, Chan said.
“Hopefully he can be part of that clinical trial for Duke,” Chan said.
In the meantime, the officers will do their best to make this Halloween a special one for the youngster.
Hunter said they’ve helped with other Halloween projects before, although they’ve never done anything as involved as incorporating a wheelchair.
“But we’ll make it work,” he said.