Chance Collins Leads Eaton Rapids Parade with Police

By: Josh Sidorowicz Email
By: Josh Sidorowicz Email

"He's a pretty special little guy, he'll light your life just by looking at him and he'll smile and that gets you through it."

-- Patrick Collins, Chance's father

Eaton Rapids, Mich. (WILX) It started as a simple birthday present for 11-year-old Chance Collins of Eaton Rapids.

His fascination with cops and the television show bearing the same name lead police in Eaton Rapids to give Collins the chance to play officer for a day for his birthday in April.

And on Memorial Day, Chance got his second chance to ride shotgun again with an officer, this time leading the city's annual Memorial Day parade.

"It's very heartfelt to know we can get our son involved with this stuff too and let the kids know the importance of what this day really means," said Patrick Collins, Chance's father.

Doctors haven't yet been able to figure out what caused Chance to abruptly become affected by a neurological disorder at age 3. For now, they're calling it leukodystrophy, and it's left Chance in a wheelchair and unable to speak.

Though regardless of his physical limitations, it doesn't change the fact he loves the men and women in blue.

"He loves to watch the show COPS almost every night," said Stephanie Collins, Chance's mother.

"Chance points to the TV and I'm like 'you want to watch COPS don't you?'"

Chance's parents say the fascination stems from wanting to take down the "bad guys."

"The naughtiness of someone doing something wrong, he feels the need to tell on them," Patrick said.

And Chance has a knack already for enforcement, just ask his younger brother who says Chance isn't afraid to tell on his siblings.

Something his parents concur with, which is why riding shotgun alongside Officer Mike Cheadle of the Eaton Rapids police department Monday, was exactly where Chance was supposed to be.

"Anybody who gets a chance to meet him, he's just a ball of energy, and his whole family is just great," Cheadle said.

Cheadle is the officer who accompanied Chance during his ride-along in April.

The Collins though say they are just grateful for the love and support they continue to receive from both the community and the police department.

"I could never have imagined that they would continue to want to support us," Stephanie said. "Just the outpouring of contributions and support has been crazy amazing."

Recently the Collins underwent genetic testing to see if they can find any links or clues as to what caused Chance to develop his disorder. It's a process that can take up to seven months, it's a difficult and long process but one Patrick says Chance makes all worth it.

"He's a pretty special little guy," he said, "He'll light your life just by looking at him and he'll smile and that gets you through it."

Since our first story on WILX aired in April, Chance's parents say someone in the community offered to donate a special computer--called a TOBII--to help the 11-year-old communicate in school.

His parents though are still working through red tape with insurance to allow them to buy a TOBII that can be attached to his wheelchair for more continuous use. The computer uses eye-gazing technology to help individuals communicate.


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