Soldiers Give Emotional Full Military Salute to 13-Year Old Who Beat Cancer

His mother says the 13-year-old is in full remission.

ByABC News
May 18, 2016, 12:02 PM

— -- A 13-year-old boy was honored and saluted by local soldiers after he won a battle of his own, against stage 4 cancer.

On Monday, 20 soldiers marched through Christian Lopez's neighborhood in Dorchester, Massachusetts, up to his house. They were led by his aunt, Mariana Shorter, a retired master sergeant in the Army.

"My family thinks I'm the hero because I fought wars, but the real hero is my sister and my nephew," Shorter told ABC News today. "All I did was to honor his mother's wishes. I want this story to be about my courageous sister."

Young Christian was teary-eyed when he saw that the soldiers had marched to his neighborhood for him, and he grew more emotional as each one saluted and thanked him. He was then given his own Army combat uniform.

Shorter said her nephew has always been fascinated by soldiers, so she called the U.S. Army Recruiting Command in Boston.

"They were very eager to do it. The general was crying excessively. He said, 'This has given my family hope. I have a 15-year-old grandson who is in the hospital right now with a tumor in his head.'"

Christina Ribeiro, Christian's mother, told ABC News that her son is now in remission.

"It was by the grace of God that all of this happened," she said. "He always asked me, 'Mama, why is this happening? Why is this happening?' and I would say, 'Everything happens for a reason.' Now I say, 'God gave it to you, and he took it right back.'"

When Christian grows up, he wants to be an astronaut or a chef, Ribeiro told ABC News. It's also his dream to be on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

Ribeiro said Christian has the spirit of a soldier. "He is the only child I've seen who after chemo and radiation wants to go outside and play baseball. Nothing kept him down. He never gave up."