St. Mary’s Kid, Anthony, named Police Commissioner for the day

Boy, 4, stricken with rare respiratory ailment made police commissioner for a day

By Graham Rayman

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neil meets with 4-year-old Anthony Rojas and Police Officer Anthony Passaro on Tuesday in the police commissioner’s office.

A 4-year-old Queens boy stricken with a rare respiratory disease had a wish come true as he was made police commissioner for a day on Tuesday.

Anthony Rojas, who lives with his parents in Woodside, got to meet with Police Commissioner James O’Neill, had a tour of the Joint Operations Center, saw a NYPD Harbor vessel and visited the department’s air station at Floyd Bennett Field.

“This is a dream come true for him and for us,” said Anthony’s mother Lucy Ramirez, 29, who was there with the boy’s father, Darwin Rojas, 31.

Anthony was all smiles as he ate a chocolate bar, but, in fine NYPD fashion, he politely declined comment.

“He’s shy now, but believe me, he’ll be talking all about it tomorrow,” his mom said.

O’Neill, for his part, was more than pleased to welcome Anthony to his 14th-floor office at police headquarters. “He’s also getting to go to the top of the Empire State building; so it’s going to be a good day for everybody,” he said.

Anthony was diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans, an inflammatory condition that affects the lungs. The ailment caused scarring in his lungs, and he has trouble breathing. He was wearing a device called a nasal cannula to help him breathe better.

Anthony’s visit was arranged by Police Officer Anthony Passaro, 35, and Sgt. Zagham Abbass, 38, with NYPD Community Affairs, along with St. Mary’s Hospital for Children. “A lot of people say we do so much, but they don’t realize the hope and faith that people like Anthony have given us,” Passaro said. “That’s the amazing part of the job.”

He has been treated extensively at St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children in Bayside, where he has been making progress on learning to manage his breathing. His doctors and family are hoping he will qualify for a lung transplant, which would give him a 50% percent chance of recovery from the illness.

“Throughout all of this, Anthony continues to be positive and motivated and has a contagious smile,” the hospital said in a statement posted to its website. “On any given day you can find him smiling and laughing, playing with his toys and enjoying one of his Grandma’s home-cooked meals.”