Cancer-stricken boy gets ride on Santa Monica firetruck
Eight-year-old Jeffrey Hughes is weak from treatments for a rare form of cancer, but he was on top of the world this week when Santa Monica firefighters took him for a spin down Montana Avenue.
Scores of parents and children from Jeffrey's school, Franklin Elementary, lined the street and waved as firefighters gave him a ride aboard the truck. Jeffrey and his mom, Annie, sat in the front seat, where they could see balloons flying and a tribute to the boy on the Aero Theater marquee.
Jeffrey was diagnosed last month with desmoplastic small-round-cell tumor, an aggressive cancer that usually affects young males. He has been undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He is expected to have surgery to remove several tumors and then a stem-cell transplant.
Santa Monica firefighter Ryan DeMamiel said the boy's story "tugged the heartstrings of some of the guys."
Fire Chief Scott Ferguson gave them permission to use a couple of fire engines, a hazmat vehicle and a ladder truck as a convoy. They picked up Jeffrey at school and presented him with custom fire gear, including a helmet, boots, shirts and hats.
Jeffrey, whom his father described as "amazing," smiled from his perch and then asked for a ride home.
[Corrected at 10:30 a.m.: An earlier version of this post misspelled the name of firefighter Ryan DeMamiel.]
-- Martha Groves
Photo: Jeffrey Hughes, 8, who is ill with cancer, got to ride on a firetruck Wednesday. Credit: The Hughes family