LITTLE FERRY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Firefighters from across the Garden State rallied Sunday to bring a smile to the face of a boy battling an aggressive form of eye cancer.
5-year-old Ryu Okumura wants to be a firefighter himself one day, and has been getting ready for the show of his life.
From the comfort of his father’s arms, today’s honorary fire chief watched as a parade of fire trucks from across New Jersey drove past his house in his honor.
Ryu was diagnosed with eye cancer in 2015 when he was only three-years-old. Through countless hospital stays and rounds of chemotherapy, his spirit remains strong.
He says he wants to be a firefighter because he wants to “help everybody.”
“He is a brave little guy,” mom Agatha said. “I think that’s why he wanted to be a firefighter because he thought if I can get through this I can definitely be a fireman.”
When Little Ferry firefighters heard about Ryu’s story, their goal was clear — put a smile on the future firefighter’s face.
“Just to come and show a little boy who has been through so much some love and support,” Bergen County Firefighter John LaFalce said.
“He’s got gear now with his name on it and he’s all ready to fight fires,” Little Ferry Firefighter John Schwevhelm said.
His family says the kindness of strangers has given them hope in the midst of an unthinkably difficult time.
“It’s been amazing to see all this and see the parade and all these people coming out to see our son and support him,” Agatha said. “He is definitely the brave one. He is definitely the hero of our family.”
CBS2 reports that Agatha recently lost her job and medical insurance, so most of his treatments have been paid for out of pocket. The community has been holding regular fundraisers to help with the medical bills.