Diagnosed last year with an inoperable brain tumor, 7-year-old Richard Culliver’s dream was to be a “Soldier for a Day”. Soldiers at South Carolina’s Fort Jackson made that dream come true last Wednesday, Dec. 5, with a crawl in the mud and more.
The official home page of the Army, www.Army.mil showcased young Culliver’s day on post:
He arrived Wednesday with his family, anticipating a superficial tour of the installation. After having lunch with drill sergeants, he quickly found himself going through the paces of the kinds of Basic Combat Training exercises most likely to appeal to boys.
When asked what he wanted to do while he was at Fort Jackson, the 7-year-old quickly responded, “I want to crawl in the mud.” The Soldiers' answer, “Let’s go!” And so they did, more than once!
When first diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) young Richard’s Culliver’s family was devastated at the prognosis: One year to live, with the tumor causing catastrophic symptoms, including impaired motor skills and ultimately the inability to breathe.
But last year's dire diagnosis didn't keep Culliver from being promoted to Private First Class Culliver by Brig. Gen. Bradley Becker, Fort Jackson's commanding general, before the day was over.
An MRI this past September showed that radiation therapy had significantly shrunk the brain tumor and while the family is enjoying the blessing of spending more days with their loved one, they realize it would be a complete miracle for the tumor to disappear altogether.
Read more about PFC Culliver’s day at Fort Jackson here.
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