CHARDON, Ohio — On Thursday, a little Chardon boy became a firefighter and saved Spider-Man at the same time. It was all part of A Special Wish for 4 year old Lucas Kelling, who is going through a very grown-up battle.
Lucas has been battling stage-4 High Risk Neuroblastoma since he was diagnosed in January of last year. He loves Spider-Man, and wants to be a firefighter when he grows up. The Chardon Fire Department and wish-granting organization A Special Wish Cleveland found a way to make both a reality.
"This is something that we thought 6 months ago wouldn’t happen, and here we are today," said Jamie Kelling, Lucas' mother.
Stage-4 High Risk Neuroblastoma is a rare cancer that attacks the nerves that branch off the central nervous system. It’s diagnosed in about 700 children in the United States each year.
"It was becoming a very aggressive type of cancer that can have 50/50, 60/60 chance of survival rates," said Kelling.
Lucas’ chance of survival was just 1%. With numerous chemotherapy treatments, a 12-hour tumor surgery, and 2 stem cell transplants, he now has an 80% chance of survival. 2 ports remain in Lucas' chest to administer medicine.
"He spent a lot of time in the hospital, not able to do a whole lot, watching his iPad, watching tv, sleeping - nurses in and out all day, doctors in and out all day - having to stare out a window," said Eric Kelling, Lucas' dad.
On Thursday, Lucas was given a tour of the Chardon fire station, the fire engines and tankers, the ambulances, and a ride on the ladder as part of A Special Wish Cleveland's wish-granting program.
"We are an organization that serves children between birth and 20 years of age that have been diagnosed with a disease or life-threatening illness. We just want to make their wishes come true," said Emily Pitera, Program Director for A Special Wish Cleveland.
At the end of the wish-filled day, Lucas rode the fire truck to King Kone ice cream shop and "saved" Spider-Man from a "dangerous" situation set up especially for Lucas.
"The kids are our future, and if they can learn something about the fire service, then, in the future, they might save a life. This little boy is brave and for all he's gone through, he deserves this and more," said Chardon Fire Chief Larry Gaspar.
With the help of King Kone, Chardon's Mayor and City Manager presented Lucas with a key to the city as a thanks for rescuing one of our most important superheroes, and saving the day.
"Now, he’s just running around like a normal kid. You can’t even tell he was as sick as he was," said Lucas' mom.