NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Some New York City firefighters hosted a special carnival for children who they call “the bravest.”
The kids are battling childhood diseases and the FDNY members in attendance also honored two of their fallen brothers Tuesday.
Games and teddy bears, laughter and smiling faces filled the atrium at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park. The young hospital patients were the guests of honor at the “Lil’ Bravest” mini carnival.
“It’s really fun for me and it’s better than laying on my bed and resting,” Brianna Espinel told CBS2’s Elise Finch.
The event was hosted by firefighters from Engine 84 and Ladder 34 in Washington Heights. They created the carnival to recognize the courage of these brave little boys and girls who are battling life threatening diseases.
“We’re just trying to do something for them to brighten their day and take their mind off of what they’re going through,” Capt. Jim Coakley of FDNY Ladder 34 said.
“I hope it just gives them a reason to fight, you know, a reason to keep going,” Pete Loeb of Engine 84 added.
The idea for the Lil’ Bravest carnival was born in 2010. That’s the year members of the Manhattan firehouse were devastated by the loss of two of their own in just two months.
In October, 31-year-old Rory O’Flaherty died of an enlarged heart.
In December, John “Sully” Sullivan died of cancer related to the September 11 attacks.
The Lil’ Bravest non-profit was founded in their honor to improve the quality of life for young people who are hospitalized or being treated for childhood diseases.
“Usually I’m in the hospital in bed on my computer so it’s good to come out and walk around,” 19-year-old Jak Safin explained.
“The children feel special. I’m happy to see it. It’s just amazing,” parent Kwana Lewis said.
Firefighters call sick children the true heroes in this world and said the sole purpose of the Lil’ Bravest events is to put smiles on their faces.