Boy goes from 'chief for a day' to ribbon-cutter

Vancouver 4 year old with leukemia given role at Rose Festival

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

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Four-year-old Carter Harris, who was named Clark County Honorary Sheriff earlier this month, will cut the ribbon for the opening ceremony of the Portland Rose Festival today.

Carter, son of Dennison and Robin Harris of Vancouver, began participation in the Washington State "Chief for a Day program"on May 16 following a leukemia diagnosis in December 2010. The program is intended to inspire and motivate others to build partnerships and realize their dreams through celebrating the lives of children diagnosed with a life-threatening or chronic illness, according to the Clark County Sheriff's Office.

Versie Meyer, a 21-year Rose Festival volunteer, heard about Carter's story during a presentation to her organization. Meyer suggested to the festival committee that Carter take part in the ceremony. The committee gave Carter the honor of cutting the ribbon.

Carter will join the Rose Festival Court, members of the Rose Festival Character Clown Corps, Royal Rosarians and other directors and staff at about 5 p.m. at the City Fair sign on the waterfront in downtown Portland.

The Rose Festival will be "Sheriff" Carter's second parade appearance in several days. He rode in the sheriff's office boat Saturday in the Hazel Dell Parade and will also be the grand marshal of a children' parade July 4 in Felida.

Dad Dennison Harris has said going through Carter's diagnosis and treatment was hard on the family, but his son's positive attitude inspired them.

Carter continues to receive chemotherapy treatments.

He'll officially be "Chief for a Day" on Aug. 16, but the sheriff's office gave Carter an early start to prepare him for the series of summer events.

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