A 9-year-old Morris County boy who recently finished years of treatment for leukemia celebrated his recovery with the help of dozens of firefighters, police officers and other community members.
Nesim Aktas of Boonton was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia toward the end of 2017, when he was in first grade. He finished his last liquid chemotherapy dose Monday, June 8 and was honored with an official salute from Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon and other officers.
Nesim’s friends and extended family gathered at his Kanouse Street fully equipped with masks and “Team Nesim” t-shirts to celebrate the ending of his battle. A sign reading “WooHoo, Nesim Beat Cancer” was set up on the lawn, as was a car covered with a banner reading, “Cancer is tough but Nesim is tougher.”
Next to come was a motorcade and drive-by procession with the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Motor Unit Corporals, two Boonton Fire Department trucks and other supporters, where Nesim had the unforgettable honor of ringing the fire bell.
Nesim was then gifted with a certificate of courage for “completing the prescribed course of therapy with the highest degree of courage, determination and good nature,” Gannon said.
“We’re all here because of your courage,” Gannon told Nesim. “You had a rough run going. You had a lot going on. But you know something? You taught us all a good lesson. Never give up. You had a lot of courage. You faced a lot of tough times. We’re real proud of you.”
Finally, Nesim’s parents, Selma and John Aktas, showed their unending gratitude to all of Nesim’s supporters.
“The community has been beyond amazing,” Mr. Aktas said. “From the board of education, to hospitals, to my job. Luckily, all we had to do was focus on making him feel good. They say it takes a village, and we’ve had an amazing support system.”
Boonton Deputy Fire Chief Eric Joinson said the department considered it an honor to help Nesim celebrate.
“This is something very special to do, for children especially,” said Joinson. “It’s really an honor to do this for them.”
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