Raleigh child, made honorary officer, dies

Posted July 1, 2010 10:27 a.m. EDT
Updated July 1, 2010 5:10 p.m. EDT

— A Raleigh boy who was made the Raleigh Police Department's first honorary officer last month died early Thursday of cancer.

Will Bunn, 8, died at 4:22 a.m. after his health took a turn for the worse on Monday, according to a journal entry posted on the website, CaringBridge.

"The illness can no longer constrain our angel, William; he has spread his wings, taken flight and will be free of pain and suffering for all eternity," the post said.

His parents were by his side.

Will was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that develops from nerve tissue, in December 2007. In May 2009, his doctors declared him to be cancer-free, and he spent nearly a year in remission before it was determined in early February that cancer had returned.

On June 11, the police department made his wish to be a police officer come true when Raleigh Police Chief Harry Dolan presented Will with a Chief's Citation praising his courage and strength of character and officially declared him to be an honorary officer. He received a full police uniform and an authentic badge.

"I like all the handcuffs and how they go check out the jail and stuff," he said at the time. "I really like it how they do all that stuff."

On June 23, Will visited the North Carolina Legislative Building, where members of the state House gave him a standing ovation and applauded his bravery and strength.

He was also awarded an honorary membership in the state Senate, the first time in memory the Senate bestowed such an honor.

Will had recently completed the first grade at Douglas Elementary School, and he enjoyed hunting, fishing, swimming, playing basketball and camping at the lake.

He is survived by his parents, Mark and Amy, and younger sister, Alyssa.

The family will receive friends Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at New Hope Baptist Church, 4301 Louisburg Road in Raleigh. Funeral services will be held at New Hope Baptist Church on Saturday at 11 a.m. He will be buried with full police honors, according to Jim Sughrue, Raleigh police spokesman.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the V Foundation for Cancer Research, St. Baldrick’s Foundation, and neuroblastoma research.

CaringBridge is a free Web service that helps connect families and friends with patients during times of serious illnesses.