An 8-year-old Crosby boy battling cystic fibrosis was given an opportunity of a lifetime on Tuesday by becoming an honorary member of the Liberty County SWAT team.
Isaac “Bubba” Ivey was sworn in and deputized by Liberty County Sheriff Bobby Rader at the Paul Brockner Memorial Range on FM 1010 in Cleveland. After being issued his gear, which included pants, shirt, tactical vest and helmet, Bubba suited up and joined the 100 or so officers who had volunteered their time to make the day extra special for him.
They loaded up in the SWAT vehicle and went through maneuvers similar to how they would respond to an emergency. With Bubba in formation between them, they headed to the gun range where he was taught about weapons. The day was capped off with lunch with his fellow law enforcement officers and more training.
His mom, Crystal, says that being a police officer is Bubba’s lifelong dream, partly inspired by his admiration for his uncle, a Baytown police officer, and his aunt, Liberty County Sheriff’s Deputy Shandalynn Rhames, who helped organize the event on Tuesday.
“Bubba is constantly talking about being a police officer. His dream of being a cop is how we actually push him to do things. We say, ‘Bubba, if you are going to be a police officer, then you have to take your treatments and get better,'” Crystal said.
The day dedicated to him came as a surprise. He was told in advance that he would be spending the day with his Aunt Shanny. As they approached the gun range and saw the SWAT vehicle sitting outside, Crystal said excitement began to build.
“He said, ‘Mom, that’s SWAT. That’s SWAT!’ He was excited and then started to get a little nervous. He has medically-induced PTSD, caused by the trauma of his hospital visits, so he gets a little anxiety at times. He is a warrior though, I can tell you that,” she said.
Since the age of 6 weeks, when he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, Bubba’s life has involved numerous hospitalizations at Texas Children’s Hospital. In addition to undergoing open heart surgery, Bubba also suffers from tracheobronchomalacia, which weakens his air passages and makes it difficult to combat the thick mucus in the lungs that goes along with cystic fibrosis.
“He has 60 percent lung function. It’s been a rollercoaster ride for him,” Crystal said. “But every day is a blessing with Bubba.”
Determined not to keep her son in a bubble, Crystal encourages him to live every day to the fullest.
“More adults with CF are getting to fulfill their lives. Bubba has a long of things that go along with CF that complicate his situation, but we want him to live life to the fullest. We don’t hold him back,” she said. “We let him jump on trampolines and we let him swim. We push him toward his dreams. He wants to be a police officer and that’s what he is going to do some day. We are going to live every day like that.”