Boy With Rare Disease Becomes Honorary Marine
Eight-year-old Wyatt Gillette became an honorary marine on July 30. The boy received the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, which are symbols to represent when one officially becomes a marine. Gillette, who has spent most of his young life suffering with Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome Type 1, fulfilled his wish at Camp Pendleton before passing away the next day. 
After being touched by the Gillette’s story, fellow marine Anthony North created a Change.org petition to allow the young boy to become an honorary marine. It received over 4,000 signatures and led to the boy receiving the honorary marine title, with Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller approving the petition himself.
Wyatt Gillette has faced medical complications for the majority of his young life. His father Jeremiah describes Wyatt’s short life as only having about two weeks of “normalcy” before the complications began.
At age four, he was finally diagnosed with Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome Type 1-(Trex 1 mutation). This rare condition caused many upsets in the young boy’s life, including total kidney failure and seizures. He took up to 15 medications per day to help manage his condition and keep him comfortable.
Wyatt spent the majority of his final days in the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) where he was receiving dialysis, as his mother estimated his kidney function was at approximately zero.
His parents say that Wyatt had an uncanny ability to cheer people up when they were feeling low. He also loved his bike and to do crafts.
Jeremiah Gillette said of his son, “He’s the toughest kid I’ve ever met. He’s the toughest person I’ve ever met.” 
His friend and fellow marine, Anthony North, agreed wholeheartedly with the sentiment. He wrote on the Change.org petition:
“I truly feel that Wyatt has faced more hardship than any Marine has gone through, and for that should be given the title. 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.”
 Huffington Post
 ABC 7 News
Anna Scanlon is an author of YA and historical fiction and a PhD student at the University of Leicester where she is finishing her degree in modern history.