At first, it seemed like three-year-old Nolan had a simple case of nasal congestion. But long after it should have cleared up, the situation only became worse.
And in the end, the boy’s parents, Ruth and Jonathan Scully, received a message that parents everywhere dread to hear: Nolan was suffering from rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer.
For 18 months, Nolan fought the disease.
He stayed strong, courageous, and positive. But in February 2017, the brave boy succumbed to the disease.
Only four years old, Nolan passed away in his mother’s arms.
However, it wasn’t Nolan’s long struggle with cancer that his mother, Ruth Scully, wrote about in a heartbreaking Facebook post. Her moving story details the last days of her son’s life.
Nolan’s doctors explained that it was no longer possible to treat the boy’s disease and that all they could do was try to make Nolan feel as comfortable as possible while his condition continued to deteriorate.
Then, during her last trip to the hospital, Ruth Scully shared a moment with her son that she’ll never forget.
Ruth Scully wrote on Facebook:
I sat down with him and put my head up against his and had the following conversation:
Me: Poot, it hurts to breathe, doesn’t it?
Nolan: Weeeelll… yeah.
Me: You’re in a lot of pain aren’t you, baby?
Nolan: (looking down) Yeah.
Me: Poot, this cancer stuff sucks. You don’t have to fight anymore.
Nolan: (Pure Happiness) I DONT??!! But I will for you, Mommy!!
Me: No Poot!! Is that what you have been doing?? Fighting for Mommy??
Nolan: Well, DUH!!
Me: Nolan Ray, what is Mommy’s job?
Nolan: To keep me SAFE! (With a big grin)
Me: Honey… I can’t do that anymore here. The only way I can keep you safe is in Heaven. (My heart shattering)
Nolan: Sooooo I’ll just go to Heaven and play until you get there! You’ll come, right?
Me: Absolutely!! You can’t get rid of Mommy that easy!!
Nolan: Thank you, Mommy!!! I’ll go play with Hunter and Brylee and Henry!!
Over the next few days, Nolan slept almost the whole time.
His parents decided to bring him home and spend one last night at home. But while his parents were packing, Nolan took his mother’s hand and said that it was okay to stay at the hospital.
“My four-year-old hero was trying to make sure things were easy for me,” Ruth Scully wrote on Facebook.
About 9:00 pm we were watching YouTube in bed (Peppa Pig actually) and I asked Nolan if I could get in the shower, as I was not allowed to leave him and Mommy had to be touching him at all times.
He said, “Ummmm okay, Mommy. Have Uncle Chris come sit with me and I’ll turn this way so I can see you.”
I stood at the bathroom door, turned to him and said, “Keep looking right here, Poot. I’ll be out in two seconds.”
He smiled at me. I shut the bathroom door. They said the moment the bathroom door clicked, he shut his eyes and went into a deep sleep, beginning the end of life passing.
When I opened the bathroom door, his team was surrounding his bed and every head turned and looked at me with tears in their eyes.
They said, “Ruth, he’s in a deep sleep. He can’t feel anything.” His respirations were extremely labored. His right lung had collapsed and his oxygen dropped.
I ran and jumped into bed with him and put my hand on the right side of his face. Then a miracle that I will never forget happened…
My angel took a breath, opened his eyes, smiled at me and said, “I love you, Mommy,” turned his head toward me, and at 11:54 p.m. Sgt. Rollin Nolan Scully passed away as I was singing “You are My Sunshine” in his ear.
The boy woke up one last time, gathered his strength, and told his mother that he loved her. And the moving story has already touched millions of hearts across the world and continues to do so.
A hero’s send-off
Nolan’s family decided to share his funeral with the many Facebook followers who had supported him through his battle. They broadcasted the sad event on a live stream, including a touching send-off from local first responders and law enforcement agencies.
”Sgt. Rollin’ Nolan” was honored beautifully as firefighters and police officers took turns standing watch over Nolan’s red casket.
This is typically done when officers die in the line of duty, but everyone could agree that Nolan deserved it.
The funeral procession started at the Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department, and then Nolan’s casket was brought outside, where 100 first responders saluted him.
Nolan’s casket was lifted on the fire truck, and the brave little boy was honored with his End Of Watch ”last call.” You can watch the heartbreaking moment below:
In September 2022, Nolan’s mom gave another emotional update on what would have been his 10th birthday. According to the mother, this birthday hit her ”in the gut harder than previous ones.”
”Maybe it’s the things he’s missed and we’ve missed with him. Maybe it’s the wondering of how life would be if he were still here with me,” she wrote.
Usually, Nolan’s mom and his siblings try to do something fun that he would’ve liked on his birthday, but this year, Nolan’s mommy just couldn’t.
Instead, she took some of her children to the graveyard. They brought some red balloons to his grave and wrote some personal greetings on them before they sent them up to ”heaven.”