UPDATE: May 24th- The parents of Grant Hock are thanking those who are standing by the family after their three-year-old son loses his battle with cancer.
Karah and Gabe Hock released this statement Sunday evening:
"We knew it was coming but we are still devastated beyond words. He was a happy boy that would get into everything. He was as adventurous and independent as he was a loving cuddle bug. It's still very fresh but we already miss him so much. We want to express our extreme gratitude to all our friends and family for their love and support. And we want to thank everyone in the community from the bottom of our hearts who came together to rally and support our little man. It absolutely means the world to us."
News 3 was saddened to learn of the loss when the West Frankfort Fire Department posted on its Facebook page Sunday afternoon that the toddler was surrounded by family when he passed away the previous night.
Family, friends, neighbors and hundreds of first responders including West Frankfort firefighters rallied together last month to show their support for Grant, his siblings and his parents.
To help with funeral and other expenses you can contribute through their gofundme account here.
ORIGINAL STORY: APRIL 30TH- A young West Frankfort boy with terminal cancer was honored Thursday with a huge first responder parade.
Karah and Gabe Hock took turns holding 3-year-old Grant. Grant's older siblings Braden, 13, and Abbey, 7, also attended.
Organizers say about 500 personal and first responder vehicles took part, including about 50 fire apparatuses from agencies from across the state.
West Frankfort Fire Department Captain Derek Sailliez organized the massive effort in two days.
“Nobody said no,” Sailliez said. “I sent out a request to help to two people on Tuesday, and this is what happened because of it.”
With his immune system compromised from the cancer treatment in the middle of a pandemic, the Hock family stayed around the family car as the parade went by, many with masks.
Herrin realtor David Vaughn and his biker club Band of Brothers MC heard about the effort and joined the parade.
“We all have limited time, but this young man and his family are going to remember this. The bigger the better for him,” Vaughn said.
The show started with two medical evacuation choppers landing. Then the line of fire engines and ladder trucks filled the parking lot.
“We were full. We had no where to put them,” Sailliez said.
Before the parade started, all the crews formed a line and saluted the family and then thunderous applause and cheers.
“This is just amazing,” Karah Hock said as she fought back tears behind her mask.
That’s when the parade started with the bikers, off-road vehicles and specialty personal vehicles of all ages and eras.
“Everybody reached out to him and supported him and showed love, and this family is going to realize there are people in this community there to support them,” Vaughn said.
Grant, who's battle Rhabdomyosarcoma, was captivated by the show and pointed, especially when drivers honked, revved their engines or put out a siren blast.
“What they did in a couple of days is more than I could ever ask for,” Karah Hock said.
Karah Hock said her son was diagnosed on Halloween, and by February they found out the grim prognosis.
"He's happy. We're just so grateful for the time we have left with him," she said.
A gofundme account has been set up by the family.