A Utah boy fighting cancer lived his dream of being a firefighter

Posted at 7:42 PM, Oct 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-28 01:18:13-04

An eight-year-old boy who is fighting cancer, for the second time, got to fight something a lot cooler- and hotter- flames.

Caleb Terry’s dream is to be a firefighter.

For one day, Unified Fire Authority granted Caleb’s wish. They took him to station 119 in Emigration Canyon on Friday and showed him the ropes.

“I was able to put out the fire and it was so amazing,” said Caleb.

He battled real flames, when one of UFA’s dumpster props caught on fire, and had to walk through real smoke (from a fog machine) to get to a house that had been reportedly on fire. UFA used one of their firefighter’s home’s to plant the smoke machine.  Inside the house was a baby doll- that the firefighters treated like a real baby who they rescued from the house fire.  Caleb got to take it down the ladder and hand it to its mother.

“Give that to mom,” said Captain Ben Sharer to Caleb.

“Oh my goodness, is he going to be ok? Thank you so much Caleb!” exclaimed the mother enthusiastically.

“You’re welcome,” said Caleb.

Caleb enjoyed the opportunity to hold the hose as it sprayed out water on the flames.

“When we have a brand new firefighter you never know how they are going to do until it’s the real deal,” said Captain Sharer.   “I can tell you right now Caleb is going to be a hero because we put a lot of pressure on him on day one and he performed perfectly.”

Caleb is battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He was first diagnosed with it in 2012 when he was just three-years-old.  Then after three years of treatment, he beat it. But seven short months later he relapsed.  He spent the first month at Primary Children’s Hospital using a stronger chemotherapy.  His family said he has been having difficult side effects this time around. One of them is a severe neurological reaction to one of the new drugs. But that new drug might be the answer to beating the cancer again.

A couple months ago Caleb was on a tour through one of UFA’s fire stations.  The UFA public information officer, Eric Holmes, noticed his tour group and found our more about Caleb’s medical situation. Then he found out it was Caleb’s dream to become a firefighter. So Holmes set up a day to make Caleb a real firefighter. He was even sworn in by the chief.

“Nothing scares me,” said Caleb.

The firefighters hope he remembers his day with them. So if his symptoms flare up, he will know he has an extended family fighting his fight with him.