Parents ask military service members to attend funeral for 5-year-old

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River "Oakley" Nimmo

River “Oakley” Nimmo (Courtesy: ABC News)

CAMDEN, Ark. (ABC NEWS) — The parents of a 5-year-old who died after battling cancer for nearly four years are asking for military servicemen and women to attend his Arkansas funeral in uniform.

River “Oakley” Nimmo dreamed of becoming an “Army man” when he grew up, his mother, Shelby Nimmo, told ABC News. During his free time, Oakley would drive his power wheels and shoot toy guns, his obituary states.

Oakley was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2015, according to a GoFundMe campaign created to raise money for his medical treatment. He was cleared of cancer in June 2017 after “grueling rounds” of chemotherapy, surgery and a stem cell transplant, but was re-diagnosed just a month later after doctors discovered swollen lymph nodes during a routine checkup, according to the campaign.

On Feb. 28, Oakley’s parents wrote on Facebook that the cancer had “progressed rapidly” to his bones in his spine, knee, skull and pelvis. He developed a tumor in his clavicle as well.

Oakley was placed in hospice care at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock on June 15 after he began experiencing liver failure and his tumors continued to grow in “full force,” his parents wrote.

Oakley died Thursday afternoon after his “110%” battle with cancer, according to a Facebook post. He is survived by his parents and his brother, Bear, according to his obituary.

Nimmo described her son as an “incredible little boy” who fought the disease “with bravery like none of us have ever seen.”

The family is requesting that any active or former members of the U.S. military attend the funeral “in honor of Oakley’s dream to serve his country.”

“We, as his parents, are very proud of the patriotic heart and devotion to the United States that Oakley had. He was the true definition of courageous.”

The service will take place Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Cullendale First Baptist Church in Camden, Arkansas.

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