Rex Darmanin-Rees: Firefighter for a day

Wish granted for junior fireman

LIKE many five-year-old boys, Caloundra's Rex Darmanin-Rees has had big dreams of being a fireman when he grows up.

But unlike other kids his age, young Rex has already been through hell.

In January last year Rex was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

He has spent months in and out of hospital, undergoing extensive treatment.

His wish to become a fireman, however, hasn't waned.

When Make-A-Wish Australia asked Rex what his most cherished wish was, a trip to Disneyland did not figure.

Rex said confidently, "I want to be a fireman".

Thanks to Make-A-Wish and the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, Rex's wish came true in more ways he could have ever dreamed yesterday.

A convoy of about 15 fire trucks with lights blazing and a full police escort pulled up outside Rex's school, Meridan State College, at 9am to meet the new recruit.

"Do you want to be a firefighter," one of the officers asked the shy youngster, who was nervously nibbling his lip.

With a firm nod, Rex and his seven-year-old sister, Madeline, were officially brought into the ranks.

They were taken to Caloundra Fire Station where they were given specially fitting firefighting suits.

The youngster then called the officers to attention.

In a shaky voice he said: "Firefighters, fall in line."

The fun did not end there.

Rex was given the opportunity to rescue a (toy) bear trapped at the top training tower and put out a small fire with the help of firefighters.

Rex's special day was topped off with a helicopter trip around the Glasshouse Mountains and back to his school where the 2000 students were waiting.

His mum, Kristen, said the day was more than the family expected.

About 60 officers, most on their days off, took part in Rex's event.

While Rex is out of the woods with his illness, his treatment is far from over.

The plucky five-year-old has to visit the hospital monthly, takes chemo medicine daily and has to have a lumbar puncture every three months.

But his mum said he had been "tough and brave" through it all. The traits of a fireman.

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