Six-year-old Eli is a little firecracker. Eli is a very social boy and loves playing with his siblings, of which he is the youngest of five. He loves anything to do with cars and trucks and more than anything, he loves firefighters.
Eli’s family was shaken when his older brother was diagnosed with cancer last year. Concerned that it ran in the family, Eli and all his siblings were tested. Though Eli did not have cancer yet, he did test positive for a genetic defect that can cause it. This disorder is extremely threatening -- most kids don’t live past adolescence if it is not caught in time. Following this discovery, Eli received a bone marrow transplant as a preventative measure. He spent ninety days in the hospital because of complications and he still has to be careful to avoid large crowds or exposure to any disease. Eli was home-schooled throughout his first year of kindergarten, which was difficult for such a social kid. Since his transplant, Eli’s health has been great! Throughout his recovery, he followed the example of his brother, who displayed a good attitude while going through a similar journey.
Eli’s brother had previously made a wish, so Eli and his family were familiar with the program Once referred by his social worker, Eli eagerly started dreaming! His favorite show is Paw Patrol, and specifically, he loves Marshall the firefighting dog. Eli has always wanted to be a firefighter when he grows up, so naturally when it came time to declare his wish Eli knew exactly what he wanted to do: be a firefighter for the day!
When the day of his wish came, Eli and his family were taken by a limo to a local firehouse, where all the firefighters were waiting for him. Eli jumped out of the limo and walked straight up to them, not the least bit shy. He received his own uniform and partner for the day, and was officially sworn into duty by the station’s fire chief. After a tour of the firehouse, the truck, and all the equipment, Eli was ready to go on some calls! At two locations, Eli and his partner put out simulated fires and rescued a family (represented by a baby doll). He even got to use the big hose and ride in the truck. Finally, the firefighters surprised him with his very own play fire truck. On the ride home, he was so exhausted that he fell asleep in the limo. “His cheeks hurt from smiling so much,” his mom said.
Since his wish, Eli doesn’t let a day go by without playing on the firetruck he was given. He tells everyone he can about his wish. Getting to live his dream has helped Eli find happiness and excitement in life as he moves forward with his condition.