In Phoenix AZ. a 26-year-old mother stared down at her
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 and fulfill all his dreams. Now that
was no longer possible.
The leukemia would see to that. But she still wanted
dreams 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
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 six-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 all the fire calls, the whole nine
"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
fire 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
paramedic's van, and even the fire chief's car. He was
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
One night all of his vital signs began to drop dramatically
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 just the fire 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
hospital and extended its ladder up to Billy's third
floor open window. 16 firefighters 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
With his dying breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief
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