MODESTO — Baylie Hankins aspires to be a police officer and thought she was just going on a ridealong when the day turned into so much more.
Hankins, 16, is battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“I was shocked but I’m kinda used to cancer running through my family, so I knew I could beat it and I was prepared to end it,” she said.
On Friday, her friends and family, along with Modesto-area officers, surprised her with a huge gathering.
“I think this is so amazing that everyone set this up for me, I think it is so cool,” Hankins said.
CHP Officer Matt Fowles was integral in putting the surprise together. He learned Baylie’s story through a mutual friend.
“I wanted to make it a lot more special for her,” Fowles said. “I wanted to make it a whole entire day for her.”
Baylie’s family was especially moved.
“I am just overwhelmed with emotion right now. The love and support of our community is everything to us,” Season Newell, Baylie’s mom, told FOX40.
Newell says it has been a tough year.
“I was diagnosed with melanoma at the beginning of the year last year and then my grandmother was diagnosed with terminal cancer in April and passed away,” she said.
Newell said she was also diagnosed with thyroid cancer, which has spread to her throat. Then, just months after her own prognosis, she learned Baylie had a battle of her own.
“At no point has she shown fear,” Newell said. “She smiles through everything and she’s incredible.”
No fear, but she does have a good sense of humor — even naming her tumor.
“His name is Gerald,” she said. “Only guys can cause this much trouble.”
Baylie has one more bout with “Gerald” in April, when she hopes to knock him out for good. She says once her cancer fight is finished, she plans to realize her dream of becoming a police officer.
“(The CHP) can’t get rid of me now,” she said.