RANDALL'S ISLAND, Manhattan --Two young cancer patients in the fight of their lives received cheers, applause, and standing ovations when they were sworn in Tuesday as honorary firefighters by the FDNY.
"That was really, really special. I feel really blessed and honored," said Shauna Dukes, mother of 3-year-old Trucker Dukes from Hawaii.
He and 4-year-old River Laurence of Texas are fighting Stage 4 neuroblastoma, one of the most common solid tumors in children.
They first met local firefighters while undergoing treatment in New York.
"There are not words to describe," said River's mother Joscelyn Laurence. "I mean, we're 1,700 plus miles from home and we have a really good connection with our fire department at home in Converse and the brotherhood from there spreads here."
And Trucker's dad just happens to be a firefighter back home in Hawaii.
"I don't think that we would have made it this far without the love and support and prayers from everybody," said Joshua Dukes.
While neither of the department's newest recruits is likely to use their mini-FDNY uniforms to fight flames anytime soon, both have already shown courage enough in their health battles to stand with New York's Bravest.
"It's an inspiration to be a part of it and give any happiness at all to their families is very important for this department," said FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro.