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A beautiful but heartbreaking story

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1579
Joined: May 2009

I received this story in an e-mail which also contained pictures of Billy, unfortunately I was unable to copy the pictures. He was such a beautiful little boy. My husband and I both cried when we read this as it still breaks our hearts everytime we hear of a child with cancer.

"Am I really a fireman now?"

In Phoenix , Arizona , a 26 year-old mother stared down at her 6 year-old son, who
was dying of terminal leukemia.

Although her heart was filled with sadness,
She also had a strong feeling of determination.
Like any parent, she wanted her son to grow up &
Fulfill all his dreams. Now, that was no longer possible..

The leukemia would see to that. But she still wanted her son's dream to come true.

She took her son' s hand and asked, 'Billy, did you ever think about what you wanted
to be once you grew up? Did you ever dream and wish what you would do with your life?'

Mommy, 'I always wanted to be a fireman when I grew up.'

Mom smiled back and said, 'Let's see if we can make your wish come true.'

Later that day she went to her local fire Department in Phoenix , Arizona , where she
met Fireman Bob, who had a heart as big as Phoenix !

She explained her son's final wish and asked if it might be possible to give her
6 year-old son a ride around the block on a fire engine.

Fireman Bob said, 'Look, we can do better than that. If you'll have your son ready at
seven o'clock Wednesday morning, we'll make him an honorary Fireman for the whole day.
He can come down to the fire station, eat with us, go out on all the fire calls, the whole
nine yards!

And if you'll give us his sizes, we'll get a real fire uniform for him, with a real fire hat -
not a toy -- one-with the emblem of the Phoenix Fire Department on it, a yellow slicker like
we wear and rubber boots.'

'They're all manufactured right here in Phoenix , so we can get them fast.'

Three days later Fireman Bob picked up Billy, dressed him in his uniform and escorted him from
his hospital bed to the waiting hook and ladder truck.

Billy got to sit on the back of the truck and help steer it back to the fire station.
He was in heaven.

There were three fire calls in Phoenix that day and Billy got to go out on all three calls.

He rode in the different fire engines, the Paramedic's' van,
And even the fire chief's car.

He was also videotaped for the
Local news program.

Having his dream come true,
With all the love and attention that was lavished upon him, so deeply touched Billy,
that he lived three months longer than any doctor thought possible.

One night all of his vital signs began to drop dramatically and the head nurse, who believed
in the hospice concept - that no one should die alone - began to call the family members to
the hospital.

Then she remembered the day Billy had spent as a Fireman, so she called the Fire Chief and
Asked if it would be possible to send a fireman in uniform to the hospital to be with Billy
as he made his transition

The chief replied, 'We can do better than that. We'll be there in five minutes.
Will you please do me a favor?

When you hear the sirens screaming and see the lights flashing, will you announce over the
PA system that there is not a fire?'

'It's the department coming to see one of its finest members one more time. And will you
open the window to his room?'

About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck arrived at the hospital and extended its
ladder up to Billy's third floor open window--------
16 fire-fighters climbed up the ladder into Billy's room.

With his mother's permission, they hugged him and held him and told him how much they
LOVED him. With his dying breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief and said,

'Chief, am I really a fireman now?'

'Billy, you are, and the Head Chief, Jesus, is holding your hand,' the chief said.

With those words, Billy smiled and said, 'I know, He's been holding my hand all day,
and The angels have been singing.'

He closed his eyes one last time.

Marcia527's picture
Posts: 2748
Joined: Jul 2006

I always doubt anything that is sent around in the email. So much is made up. However I looked this up on snopes.com and the basic story is true. This version is padded a bit.


PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4779
Joined: May 2005

I sometimes think there are many out of work Hallmark Greeting Card writers out there with nothing better to do.
I'm cranky today so forgive me...

Marcia527's picture
Posts: 2748
Joined: Jul 2006

Read this article Feeling Grumpy is "Good for you":


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