Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Cancer-stricken boy gets ride on Santa Monica firetruck

December 15, 2011 | 10:22 am

Jeffrey rides fire truck
This post has been corrected. See note below.

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.

Krista Strauss, a family friend, helped organize the Wednesday afternoon event.

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.]


Man beaten, stabbed to death in downtown L.A.

60 Freeway to be closed 'into the weekend' as bridge demolished

Freeway explosion: Workers demolish bridge amid painful commute

-- Martha Groves

Photo: Jeffrey Hughes, 8, who is ill with cancer, got to ride on a firetruck Wednesday. Credit: The Hughes family