-- An Alabama fire station named a local 6-year-old with cancer one of their honorary firefighters, granting the boy his dream job title.
Connor Wilson has spent nearly his entire life battling anaplastic ependymoma, a rare form of cancer, according to local ABC News affiliate WBMA-TV.
Fire Chief Donnie P. West of the Center Point Fire District told ABC News today that Connor's grandmother had called the station and asked if her grandson could come in because of how intrigued he was by the work they do. Then the firefighters got the idea to make him an honorary firefighter.
"We knew he was going to get to come out and do a few things, but we didn't know what all they had up their sleeves," Connor's grandmother, Karen Hodges, told WBMA-TV. "So, that was a great surprise, and I know he was thrilled."
Chief West said he performed the formal swearing-in ceremony on Monday, after the firefighters first took Connor around to spray water from the hose, perch on the ladder and sit in the front of the fire truck, fulfilling all the duties of a junior firefighter.
"He was very excited, he was kind of shy until he warms up to you," West said. "His whole family was very appreciative."
West said that Connor had been to the fire station a few months ago, and had a blast, but wanted to return when his prognosis changed. "He had already been diagnosed with this rare cancer, and about two weeks ago he got this prognosis that he was not doing very well, in fact the doctors gave him two months, so his grandmother contacted us and said he wanted to come back."
Chief West said he was very happy the fire station could take Connor in as an honorary firefighter.
"Kids truly have a special place in our heart, and for our all our employees because they have kids too," he said. West hopes they can do their part to raise awareness for Connor's cancer, saying they are "trying to get the word out that it truly is a very rare cancer that this kids has and more research is needed."