Children cancer patients inducted as honorary firefighters

Sunday, November 10, 2013 - 4:42pm

A cancer diagnosis can change someone’s life forever especially if it’s a child. This morning an El Paso family, the El Paso Fire Department and Providence Children’s Hospital hosted an event to honor children who are going through cancer.

It was 15 years ago when 6-year-old Jose Eduardo Licon died victim of cancer in El Paso.

“My brother was great he’s probably the most courageous person I’ve ever met in my life he changed more lives than I probably ever will, “Ana Laura Licon said.

His family decided his courage and legacy needed to go beyond, that’s why they joined the El Paso Fire Department and Providence Children’s Hospital to give other infant cancer patients a happy moment.

“He was always happy and looked at every moment in life with a smile in his face even though it probably wouldn’t last for long,” Licon added.

Jose’s dream was to become a firefighter; back in 1998 he was inducted as an honorary member of the fire department.

Today that dream became true not only for him but for many children like Kaitlyn Yañez who was diagnosed with cancer in 2011.

“I was excited about it because I haven’t seen anyone or this stuff and I’m just really happy about it,” Yañez said.

“It’s not every day that we’re able to and we have the opportunity to induct a large group like this in to the fire service that is a group of champions already,” El Paso Fire Department Captain Dave Valero said.

Officials say this event is now part of the essential treatment for their patients at the hospital and it truly marks a difference in their lives.

“It just helps them emotionally tremendously when they’re in the hospital the hospital is not a place where everybody wants to be we have event such as this to give them a little bit of uplift,” Providence child life services coordinator Peggy Shuster said.

“We make them feel heroes for who they are and not what their illness makes them but just seeing the happiness on their face it brings us so much happiness to know that we are carrying through the same thing my brother felt. “ Ana Laura Licon concluded.

The Licon family says their goal is to inspire other kids and to highlight the unknown heroes of cancer. This is the 14th annual honorary appointment locally.



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