Officer for a day: Neenah teen battling brain cancer joins police force

Teen battling brain cancer fulfills his dream of becoming a police officer
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 4:58 PM CST
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - The Menasha Police Department has a special new officer... just for one day.

A Fox Valley teen battling brain cancer fulfilled his wish of joining the force Friday. 13-year-old Chance van Stippen learned the ropes from officers with Menasha, Neenah and Fox Crossing.

“It was emotional,” Chance’s mother Shayla Van Stippen sad. “But Chance was the happiest I’ve seen him in a long time.”

“We really want Chance to feel special. We know he is going through some hard times” Menasha Police Chief Nick Thorn explained.

Chance continues to battle an aggressive form of brain cancer. He finished radiation this week. Soon he’s starting clinical trials, trying to pinpoint a cure.

“Chance understands the reality of things and the time limit on his life right now... If it was up to him he would live a full life and be a cop until he was old and gray,” Shayla said.

Chance used a taser to shoot Velcro at a willing officer while checking out the Fox Valley Technical College’s Public Safety Center.

He also fit some target practice into his busy schedule... no live ammunition, just paint balls!

That’s all before looking in the trunk of a squad car and attempting a low-speed pursuit.

“He’s wanted to experience all of the things in the department. He wants to work his way. If it was up to him and he got to have his whole life, that’s what he would do,” Shayla continued.

“Chance’s smile lights up a room. He is so happy and excited to learn about policing,” Thorn said.

He’s taking home some special keepsakes to remember his day on the job.

“Oshkosh Police and Fire made a custom badge for him. The uniform shop up in Green Bay donated an entire uniform for him. We’ve had multiple donations,” Community Liaison Officer with Menasha Dan Hoernke explained.

Anyone looking to support chance can send cards to 7279 Commerce Plaza Dr. in Neenah.

Shayla said, “He just genuinely loves when he’s getting comments and knows that there’s people in the world that care and are encouraging him.”

Action 2 News first met the Van Stippen family last year after they lost their home to a fire.

They have GoFundMe pages to help with home and medical expenses.

Cop for a day in the Fox Valley