Wyatt Gillette, an 8-year-old boy with a rare illness, died a day after being made an honorary Marine.
Wyatt suffered from a rare genetic disorder called Aicardi-Goutierres Syndrome Type 1. The condition caused the boy to suffer from numerous medical problems including seizures and complete kidney failure, his mother, Felishia Gillette told ABC.
He died July 31, a day after receiving his Eagle, Globe and Anchor — an emblem that represents that one is officially a Marine — and a salute at Camp Pendleton, California, according to Marine Corps Times. Both of his parents proudly looked on.
The ceremony took place just days after fellow Marine, Anthony North, created a Change.org petition to make Wyatt an honorary Marine passed 4,000 signatures.
“I truly feel that Wyatt has faced more hardship than any Marine has gone through, and for that should be given the title,” North wrote on the petition. “I have seen more Marines come together because of him, and feel he has truly earned the right to be among the best fighting force in the world.”
Wyatt’s father, Jeremiah Gillette, 29, is a Marine drill instructor who told ABC he felt that Wyatt would have followed in his footsteps. During Wyatt’s final days, Gillette went online and asked fellow Marines to pray for his son.
In return, Gillette got an outpouring of love, which included North creating the Change.org petition for Wyatt.
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller approved the petition and Wyatt joined the ranks of a select few bestowed with the Honorary Marine title.
“The courageous fight that Wyatt continues is absolutely ‘Marine,’” Neller told the Marine Corps Times. “I hope this small gesture will bring Wyatt and his family a bit of joy during their tremendous battle.”