(left to right): Caroline Springs volunteers with little Ali, brother Musa, sister Olivia, mum Marlyn and grandma Ivonne
CFA firefighters from Caroline Springs recently made seven-year-old Ali’s wish of seeing a fire truck come true when not one, but four fire trucks visited his home.
When Craig Freshwater, Captain of Caroline Springs Fire Brigade, heard about little Ali and his special wish to celebrate the end of his chemotherapy journey, Craig knew he’d be overwhelmed with offers from fellow fireys.
Craig said despite the hardships the family faced, Ali's Mum, Marlyn, never lost determination to support her son.
“When I received the call from Marlyn about brave little Ali, I knew that this was an easy way for the brigade to make a small difference to this young boy and his family,” Craig said.
“As we got chatting, Marlyn told me that amidst Ali's struggles, she also suffered a stroke in late 2022, adding another layer of difficulty to the family’s already challenging journey.
“Ali is one of four children, so I made sure there was a fire truck for each of the children, so they wouldn’t feel left out.”
Ali was first diagnosed with High-Risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on 1 March 2021 and commenced chemotherapy soon after. He underwent treatment for a total of 833 days, a number which has been emblazoned on t-shirts made to celebrate this significant milestone.
To minimise any potential infection risks to Ali and his weakened immune system during treatment, Ali's siblings returned to remote learning from home and Marlyn was required to revert to working remotely in her role as a counsellor.
When asked about Ali and his siblings’ reaction to the surprise visit, she said the children became curious as the sound of fire truck sirens drew nearer and their eyes widened with wonder as the bright red fire trucks parked right outside their home.
“Ali was jumping up and down with delight, yet still politely asked if he could go for a closer look,” she said.
“They’ve all missed out on so many things these past few years, it was just so lovely to see the excitement on their faces.”
Given his keen interest and multiple questions during the visit, Craig has promised the family a visit to the fire station and Ali isn’t letting his Mum forget, by reminding her weekly.
“He’s definitely enthusiastic and who knows, we might have a future firefighter in the making!” said Craig.