BETHEL PARK (KDKA) — A tremendous outpouring of support from local law enforcement is expected at the funeral of a Bethel Park boy whose dream was to become a police officer.
Joey Fabus, 8, died Wednesday after a seven-month long battle with a rare and inoperable brain tumor called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG.
After he was diagnosed, his parents started sharing his story on Facebook, with over 20,000 photos and hundreds of posts about their journey.
In June, Joey was sworn in as an honorary Bethel Park police officer, so the force wants to memorialize him with a full police procession at his funeral on Monday.
“I think everybody at the police department cares for him and their hearts are all broken,” Officer Tom Rigatti told KDKA’s Kym Gable. “He’s going to be treated as though he is part of the police department and we’re going to have officers there to celebrate Joey’s life.”
Rigatti says he can’t even estimate how many law enforcement professionals will participate.
He’s received over 300 emails from departments and agencies across the region.
Joey’s parents, Cindy and Dave Fabus, have started a foundation to help find a cure for DIPG, a condition that offers families no hope of survival.
“So you have to wake up every morning and live that nightmare over and over again, knowing you’re one day closer to the end,” said Cindy Fabus. “Our hope is that the foundation brings awareness to DIPG. There are some other avenues out there, and you’d be amazed at the amount of people that come forward with their stories that you learn about.”
The family and Officer Rigatti say Joey’s journey has galvanized the South Hills community like nothing ever has before. Friends, classmates and churches planned dozens of fundraisers.
And Joey’s parents made certain their son experienced every dream they knew would never truly materialize.
Right now, donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/joeyfabusFdn. The foundation is called “The Joey Fabus Childhood Cancer Foundation.”