Boy with heart defect joins Pasco Sheriff's Office for day

By Leah Masuda, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, April 17, 2017, 5:45 PM EDT

A young boy got to experience his dream of becoming a police officer.

  • Brave Wetherington, 12, rode in chopper, walked K-9
  • He has severe heart defect, surgery later this month
  • Pasco County Sheriff's Office arranges special day for teen

Brave Wetherington, 12, has a heart defect, and the Pasco County Sheriff's Office helped fulfill his wish before major surgery.

Just two years ago, Wetherington was living in an orphanage in China with a severe heart defect.

"For 10 years, he sat in an orphanage with zero care for his heart defect whatsoever," said his mom, Stephanie Wetherington.

The Wetheringtons have four biological children. They lost an 18-month-old son about five years ago. Since then, they have adopted six children from the Ukraine and China, including Brave.

Brave had surgery last year. Before then, he could barely walk.

But Monday, he flew in a chopper, walked a K-9 and manned a Bearcat.

"I see bad people and I fly up there!" Brave said excitedly after his ride in the chopper.

"I've never met a 12-year-old with so much joy and so much love for life, you know. He needs us to fight with him, so that's what we're doing," his mother said.

Although Brave looks healthy, he still has a ways to go with another major surgery at the end of April.

"The risks are great, and there's a good chance that we can walk out of that hospital again without one of our sons, but really it's our only chance at a future for him," Stephanie Wetherington said.

The family hopes Monday's joyful day will help him fight.

"It's an amazing moment, and I hope that it gives him the determination to fight hard so that he can see this dream become a reality one day," Wetherington said.