Upstate NY Boy Inspiring a Community With His Smile and Strength
The Oswego County Sheriff's Office recently gained a new member, and his smile won't be the only thing that will warm your heart.
Last weekend, Undersheriff Toomey, Oswego Deputies and State Troopers swore 5-year-old Leiland White in, and presented him with his very own uniform and badge. The now-Junior Sheriff is not your average kid, though. He's a fighter.
In March of 2018, at just 4 years old, Lieland was diagnosed with two forms of leukemia, a rare diagnosis that requires three years of treatment. But that wasn't all. Lieland's mom, Tiffany, was also diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma.
"They said [Tiffany's cancer] was incurable, but we thought we had a lot more time," Glen White, Lieland's dad, said. "And then, all of a sudden, the cancer spread like wildfire and took her life."
Tiffany passed away on August 21, 2019. But throughout both diagnoses and a number of treatments, Lieland and his cute little smile are what keep his dad going.
"He honestly never, ever takes that smile off his face. It's crazy how strong this kid is," Glen said. "Seeing him when he got diagnosed with cancer and then seeing him when his mom passed away, that smile is literally just contagious and just awesome to see. Some kid that’s only 5 shouldn’t be going through any of this stuff, to be completely honest. So that smile, you just know that his mind’s off those things and he’s just having fun and being happy, like a 5-year-old should be.”
Lieland has also been Glen's inspiration for living a fuller life.
"What I’ve learned from this whole situation is if my 5-year-old can be happy, can laugh and everything, there should be no reason that I can’t smile or laugh either," Glen said.
Lieland wants to be a fireman, a police officer and a construction worker when he grows up, and thanks to the Oswego County community, he keeps getting closer to his dreams. Not only did he become a Junior Deputy last weekend, he's also an honorary firefighter with the Constantia Fire Department. Now, Lieland and Glen want to start a non-profit to help families deal with childhood cancer.
"He likes all the attention and I like to spread that nobody’s alone in the world with child cancer because I was ignorant to it prior to my son being diagnosed," Glen said.
There's also a way we can send support to Lieland and his dad.
"Before Tiffany passed, people did send cards and everything and she loved reading to LJ, and LJ loved getting them read to him," Glen said.
If you'd like to send Lieland some good vibes, Glen said you can send cards to 34 Wayne St. Apt B3 Mexico, NY 13114. And if it'll put a smile on that young man's face, you bet I'll be sending a card to Oswego County's newest Junior Deputy.