Meet The Cop Who Dons A Superhero Costume To Visit Kids With Cancer All Over The Country

"I am blessed to be able to make them smile after going through so much."

In 2012, Damon Cole, a seemingly ordinary officer with the Dallas Police Department, transformed into Superman. Not only did he dress the part, but he acted every bit the hero his community needed, attending local events and visiting hospitals. Three years later, he heard of a 7-year-old boy named Bryce Schottel, who was living with cancer. Schottel was a "very big Superman fan," and though he lived 11 hours away in Smithon, Illinois, Cole knew he had to meet him. 

Using his personal vacation days to take off work, he hopped in his "Superman Charger" and started on the path that would eventually lead to Heroes & Cops Against Childhood Cancer.  During Cole's visit with Schottel, they went to his school, spent time together at home, and even played some video games, all the while Schottel "was smiling ear to ear." As Cole drove back home to Fort Worth, Texas, he realized his work wasn't over — it had just begun. "Once I saw the positive impact I was having on the children I go see, that's when I knew I had found my calling in life," Cole told A Plus. 

Over the next two years, that calling led him to more than 20 states and countless families. Besides Superman, Cole has dressed up as Batman, Iron Man, Spiderman, Optimus Prime from Transformers, Baymax from Big Hero 6, Captain America, and The Incredible Hulk, just to name a few. 

On every costume, Cole makes sure his police department badge and patch is prominent because he believes "every child should know that a police officer is always there to help them through anything" and the best way to do that is by building a trusting relationship with them. "I have so many special memories with every kid I go see and their family," Cole said. "...I am blessed to be able to make them smile after going through so much." 

His favorite part of every visit is watching his superhero persona excite and delight the children so much they forget they are sick. Afterwards, Cole remains committed to each child, staying in contact with them and their family. In fact, he added, "I have seen many children multiple times, and we become very close with each other."

While Cole has a special place in his heart for every child he meets, in particular, he remembered a six-year-old boy named Joshua John Waldrop (also known as "JDUB") with lung and liver cancer who lived in Rutledge, Tennessee. Cole visited him six times over a two-year period until he passed away on January 24, 2017. 

"His family had called me and asked me if I would come to his funeral as Batman," Cole recalled. "And the answer was, 'Of course.'" Dressed as Batman, both Cole and JDUB's favorite superhero, he stood next to the boy's casket for six and a half hours to honor his hero JDUB. "I think about him every day," Cole said. 

His goal is to travel to all 50 states and Canada to see every child, teenager, adult, anyone that wants to see him in his various superhero forms. Recently, however, that goal has had to take a backseat as Cole raises funds through a GoFundMe Page to repair or replace his custom-made Batman/Superman Dodge Charger. "This was my plan until Saturday, October 30, 2017 when I learned of a 10-year-old girl by the name of Bella," he explained. "She is dying and only has three weeks to live." 

While talking to Bella's mother Crystal in Midland, Texas to arrange a Batman visit, she told Cole that she and her family wanted to take one last trip with Bella, but, having already done a Make-A-Wish trip, they didn't have any money for another one. A religious person, Cole felt compelled by God to help Bella's family have this one last vacation together. 

So he took all the money already donated to his GoFundMe page (nearly $6,500) and rented Bella's family an RV to drive to Los Angeles. "I am taking care of all of their expenses while they go to Disneyland and anywhere else in LA," he added. When they return from their trip, Cole will fly to Midland to see Bella as Batman and help her family with another fundraiser. "I will worry about my car later," he said. "It is not a priority for me right now. Bella is." 

Damon Cole and his daughter Savannah

Though Cole doesn't know where his calling will take him next, or how he'll get there, he's going. "I have learned that one person can truly make a difference," he said. "And that is my goal every day." Anyone who would like Cole to visit a child they know with cancer or any other illness, just needs to email Cole at supermandamoncole@gmail.com, and he'll be there as fast as he can.

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