WV boy collects first responder patches

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Ayden Watts is a seven-year-old boy with Spinal Muscular Atrophy or SMA – a genetic muscle disease. The disease compromises his immune system and his ability to walk, but he faces each day with a smile and does everything a normal seven-year-old can do… and like most little boys – he has dreams of being a first responder.

“And he loves police officers and any type of first responders,” said Ericca Medley, Aiden’s Mom.

Ayden got sick with pneumonia this past Memorial Day weekend and was in the hospital for 11 days. That visit started a new journey to meeting his ultimate goal.

“This all started with an amazing security guard giving him his patch to make him feel better and be strong,” said Ericca.

That first patch, from hospital security prompted Ayden to start collecting the shoulder patches of other first responders.

“They have made him feel so brave because he wants to show everybody. All of his badges,” said Erica.

“I feel strong,” said Ayden Watts, Badge Collector.

The first patch, in Ayden’s new collection came from Cabell-Huntington Hospital Security. Then the patches just started rolling in and Ayden has been loving it.

Local authorities love making Ayden smile. Chief Daniel Hardwick and his men provided Ayden’s most recent patch.

“It’s really good. It brings you back to why you’re here,” said Daniel Hardwick, Chief of Ohio River Road Fire Department.

“It’s just an amazing support for him,” said Erica.

A little boy with a big dream and big challenge… receiving the support of first responders along the way.

If you are a first responder or know one who would like to help Ayden grow his collection you can mail them to our station’s address.

Follow Katie Park on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date with her reporting for 13 News!

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