Middleboro: 7-year-old gets a hero’s send off


Jesse Heikkila

(7-year-old Jesse Heikkila. Photo courtesy of Jesse Heikkila’s aunt, Tina Mallard)

Seven-year-old Jesse Heikkila was made a n honorary Bridgewater police officer at his wake this week.

He was a little boy who wanted nothing more than to fight bad guys, but in the end he died in the arms of his parents, after 4-years of fighting Neuroblastoma, a rare brain cancer.

Bridgewater Officer Dawn Savery didn’t know Jesse personally, but she followed his struggle on Facebook, and made it her mission to see he was posthumously sworn in as a police officer.

“When I saw he wanted to be a police officer I made it my own personal goal to make sure he was that officer,” Savery said. She sent a call out and within days police department patches poured in from across the county from as far away as Hawaii.

“This is the story of little Jesse winning over the hearts of the town of Middleboro and everybody else,” Savery said.

His parents, Jeffery and Suzanne Heikkila never lost hope and gave their son a loving childhood.

Rev. Carlos D. Suarez, parochial vicar of the of the St. Edith Stein Church in Brockton, officiated at the funeral Mass on Wednesday.

He told WATD Jesse’s parents fought hard for their son. He said Jesse faced great suffering with great strength, but through it all did not want anyone else to suffer.

Jesse was given a hero’s send-off when he was laid to rest on Wednesday, right down to a pall bearer dressed as Batman, his favorite superhero.

A state police motorcade escorted the procession from Brockton to the Cemetery on the Green in Middleboro. The family’s courageous battle captured hearts across the nation and many followed his struggle on social media.

When Jesse came home to Middleboro for the last time on Wednesday folks lined the streets waving red balloons.

His parents, Jeffery and Suzanne Heikkila continue the battle to find a cure and ask contributions may be made in their son’s name to The Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium at www.nmtrc.org/donate.


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About Alice Elwell

Alice Elwell is a freelance reporter who lives on the South Shore. She joined the WATD team to widen our coverage to include Middleboro. She can be reached at acelwell2@gmail.com.