Plattsburgh, NY — A 9-year-old Plattsburgh boy is home after seven weeks in a Memphis hospital. Damian Sloan, who was being treated for brain cancer, was welcomed back by a parade of police cars, fire trucks and more than 175 motorcyclists.
Sloan arrived at the Plattsburgh International Airport on Wednesday after nearly two months at St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Among those to greet him were the Mountain Riders, a motorcycle group.
Patrick Santamaria from the Mountain Riders said they have been helping Sloan’s family for years, and they knew they needed to do something special for his return home.
“A month ago I get a call from his father asking if we could meet him in Burlington to give him an escort home,” Santamaria said. “So we agreed, but through channels and stuff we got him a flight to [Plattsburgh].”
Barrie Finnegan, executive director of the North Country Honor Flight, said he heard about Damian from the Mountain Riders and knew he wanted to help.
“They sent word out that he was coming home from St. Judes Hospital today and it didn’t take long for word to spread,” said Finnegan. “There’s a network that once the information is sent out, people show up, and the people in the North Country have such big hearts that they come out and support things like this especially.”
About two dozen police cars and firetrucks joined the escort home. Damian’s family said they knew people were coming, but they had no idea it would be more than two hundred.
“I did not expect all of this, it’s amazing,” said his dad, Morgan Sloan. “I cried as soon as we landed. I can’t even — it’s overwhelming, the support of the community is just amazing.”
While waiting for Damian to arrive, a police hat was passed around and people donated nearly $700 to help support the family.