Holiday inflatables featuring Santa Claus, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and a snowman were stolen overnight from the front yard of the Rathbone family in Canton, North Carolina, this Christmas season.

Declan Rathbone, age four, spent over 120 days in the hospital during 2019.

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Currently he receives dehydration treatments daily.

Said Wesley Rathbone, the boy’s dad, “He’s had six surgeries in five months. The big one that they did — they found a 10-inch abscess in the stomach and they took out his appendix and part of his colon.”

Just seeing those inflatables in the yard outside was part of the little boy’s healing process.

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Those cheerful decorations probably gave him periods of joy and fantasy that helped him cope with what he was going through at the time.

After the inflatables were stolen, Wesley Rathbone wanted the thieves to know they didn’t take the family’s Christmas spirit — so he made a sign telling everyone who passed by that the burglary did not phase them.

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A policeman saw the sign over the weekend — and decided to do something about it.

Check out this story about it from a Fox affiliate:

“It kind of broke my heart a little bit because he looked out and said, ‘Somebody took my Santa Claus,’” said Canton Police Officer Ryan Adams.

After hearing those words, Officer Adams bought a replacement for the Santa and Rudolph piece with his own money.

“My faith in humanity was gone for just a minute when all this happened,” said Wesley Rathbone, Declan’s dad.

“I wanted to tell you thank you for everything,” Wesley Rathbone told Adams personally. “The smile on his face means more than what you think it does.”

“I’m glad I could help out put a smile on somebody’s face,” Officer Adams replied. (source:

This is going above and beyond the call of duty…Officer Ryan Adams is an fine example of a Police Officer that not…

Posted by Canton Police Department on Thursday, December 12, 2019

This story shows the best in all of us — and how people can come together for a cause and to right a wrong and fix the broken.

Thank God for this officer.

Little Declan is sure to remember this — and will possibly pay it forward when he grows up if he sees something similar happen to someone else.

A version of this piece originally appeared in; this article is used by permission.

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