Dozens of law enforcement officers lined the halls of Albany Medical Center on Wednesday to say goodbye to 11-year-old John Hoague-Rivette as he left the hospital, and headed to hospice.
John was diagnosed with grade three Anaplastic Astrocytoma, an aggressive tumor that develops from star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes, in May, and underwent an eight-hour operation to extract the mass soon after.
Yet, doctors weren’t able to remove the entirety of the tumor due to its proximity to the brain stem, according to a GoFundMe page set up for his family that has so far raised $17,500. John was administered radiation and chemotherapy following the surgery in the hopes they would be able to keep the cancer at bay.
As the family prepared to fight the disease, New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski sent John a motivational message to help inspire him to stay strong, and later visited him at the hospital, something that proved to be a highlight during dire times.
“There are not enough thank you’s in the world I can give for seeing John smile today,” John’s mother, Carrie Rivette, told CBS at the time.
But John’s symptoms would worsen in the weeks that followed, and after a recent brain scan, doctors determined the treatments were not having their desired effect.
“[A] CT showed that the tumors are not responding to the radiation and chemotherapy,” an update on the donation page reads. “The tumors are, in fact, growing. John’s medical team cannot believe how aggressive the tumors are and believe that further radiation will only increase inflammation and pain.”
“The growing tumors are now impacting other parts of his body and doctors suggest that it is time to focus on comfort care,” the July 27 update continued. “We’re all devastated and heartbroken.”
John was discharged from Albany Med on Wednesday when it was decided he would no longer undergo treatment, instead, he and his family would focus on making him comfortable during his last days.
As John prepared to leave the hospital and return home for hospice care on July 31, he was treated to a surprise send-off from the medical center’s staff, the Albany Police Department and from members of other law enforcement agencies in the area.
John’s father, Officer Lucas Hoague, has held many law enforcement roles throughout his career, CBS reported, and it was important to his fellow officers that they show the family that they had their backs.
“This afternoon, the APD & many from police agencies across the Capital Region met at @AlbanyMed to show their support for John Hoague-Rivette, an 11 y/o boy with brain cancer,” the department said in a tweet on Wednesday. “John is passionate about law enforcement and we made sure he and his family know they’re not alone.”