At 19 months old, Trucker Dukes was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma, a fast-growing tumor in his abdomen that had already spread throughout 50 percent of his body. After undergoing multiple rounds of chemotherapy, radiation and surgeries, 3-year-old Trucker now receives hospice care at home.
To help inspire Trucker in the battle for his life, his family launched the #TruckerToughChallenge on social media earlier this year. In typical real-life superhero form, “Moana” actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has jumped in with an amazing show of support to help raise awareness.
Johnson posted a shouting selfie to his Instagram saying: “My toughest face for the #TruckerToughChallenge. There’s a special little 3yr old boy out there who’s fighting for his life. His name is @trucker_boy_dukes. Trucker was diagnosed Neuroblastoma in 2014 and he’s been fighting hard ever since. He & his family live in Hawaii and this challenge is to raise awareness for them and to help out lil’ Trucker any way we can.”
The Rock sent a personal message to young Trucker as well, letting him know just how much his struggle inspires others to stay strong: “Trucker, you stay strong big man. You’re too young right now to understand just how much you’re inspiring all those around you with your strength. Including me. Plus, your daddy is a firefighter, so you got toughness in the blood.”
Trucker’s type of neuroblastoma develops in early forms of nerve cells that are found in embryos and fetuses. According to the American Cancer Society, neuroblastoma is most often found in infants and young children and, unfortunately, cannot be prevented through lifestyle changes.
According to KITV 4 Island News, other celebrities who have posted their toughest faces include “Moana” actress Auli’i Cravalho, UFC fighter Yancy Medeiros and a bunch of Major League Baseball players, including Maui’s Kurt Suzuki.
“If there’s one thing you walk away with, I hope that it is that you love a little harder, a little better, stop the craziness in your life and just kiss your loved ones more — tell them you love them more,” Shauna Dukes, Trucker’s mother, tells KITV 4.
If Johnson’s and everyone else’s incredible posts weren’t enough to melt your heart, a wish of Trucker’s was recently granted when he got to go to Disneyland. And last year the New York City Fire Department swore Trucker in as an honorary firefighter. “This honor is so special to us because Trucker-Boy really thinks he’s a fireman,” Shauna says in a press release.
The #TruckerToughChallenge calls on you to capture your toughest mug to spread awareness about cancer funding and put a smile on Trucker’s face. Then, just challenge three friends to post their battle faces next — and don’t forget to hashtag #TruckerToughChallenge.
If you want to help Trucker’s family cover the cost of medical bills, travel and lost income, you can make a donation here. To find out more about Trucker’s journey, visit the Team Trucker website or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.