June 5, 2016-
2 weeks ago, I had the week of my life. It started with the Answer the Call 2016 Soiree, the NYC Firefighter & Police Widows & Children’s fund benefit ( https://www.facebook.com/AnswerTheCallNYC/?fref=ts ). We were asked to attend and gladly accepted. In addition to helping such an awesome foundation, I had the opportunity to meet my childhood hero Mark Messier. It was only Tuesday and I thought to myself, this is it, the highest point possible of the week, even year. I had no idea what was in store for me later on
That Saturday started out as a typical day tour in Midtown, not a second to enjoy a cup of coffee to start the tour before the tones went off and computer spit out our assignment. At around 11, I got a phone call that a visitor would be stopping by, but, as usual, we were finishing up another run. When we made it back to the firehouse, Tim Hogan, his wife and 2 children were there waiting. Tim, now Lieutenant, was a firefighter in Brooklyn 2 years ago when we 1st met (via facebook). NYC Fire Wire was contacted about a firefighter whose family was going through a difficult time. In early 2013, Tim’s son Owen was diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anemia. Aplastic Anemia is a disorder in which the body stops producing blood cells. It can result in fatigue, easy bruising, poor clotting and impair the body’s ability to fight infection. Owen’s aplastic anemia is life threatening. We (NYC Fire Wire) were prepared to do what ever it took. While Owen stole my heart, I was also concerned for Tim and his wife Kathleen. As a parent, I could only imagine what they were going through. We used Fire Wire, whether it was for the little things like prayers, facebook comments for words of encouragement, or anything. I was finally in contact with Tim and able to offer whatever was in our power. We were successful in everything we did. That Saturday, I was not only suprised by their visit, but also to learn that this June 2016 marks 6 months since Owen was under the microscope. 6 months since he had any treatment, needles, anything!
The Little things: Tim said that Owen was a brave warrior through the whole thing. He battled Cancer like a 3am fire with people trapped; he went head first and didn’t quit until the fire was out. But when he was scared, he found his support in a video. He downloaded an app called “Whopping Fire Trucks” and there was a video of Engine 54 going on a run. As they were pulling out, they noticed someone recording them, so the nozzle & back-up man gave each other thumbs up and a high five. At the moment, it was just an innocent quirky thing, but Owen saw it and immediately loved it. When ever he was scared, Tim played the video for Owen, and they would high five each other and give each other a thumbs up, and Owen was ready to go into battle with his parents backing him up. (There is soooo many video’s of 54/4 responding, I’m having trouble finding the video on youtube to show you.)
During Owen’s visit to the firehouse, I made sure he had a great time because I just had to see that smile on his face. We played in the rig and Owen and his brother Ethan got to hit Tim and I with the extinguisher. We even got to do the thumbs up, high five that he saw in the video.
When I met them for the first time at the firehouse, I was more star struck then I was when I met Messier. I didn’t think it was possible to top that event on Tuesday, but my day with Owen did. The strength this family has, it’s real inspirational. Ethan was an infant when this began, Tim was even promoted to Lieutenant, and I’m sure he wasn’t able to fully enjoy the promotion with everything going on. But they pulled through, and are now returning to normal life. Owen gets to grow up (and hopefully joins us in the FDNY).
NYC Fire Wire is there for the FDNY and it’s family, as are other great foundations. You can read more about Owen and his fight: http://aheroforowen.com/ or check out the facebook page A Hero for Owen https://www.facebook.com/AHeroForOwen/?fref=ts .
Also, please check out Lil Bravest http://lilbravest.com/ facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Lil-Bravest-172804942863101/ . Lil’ Bravest Inc was founded by brothers in Engine 84/Ladder 34. The goal is to improve the quality of life for children who are hospitalized or being treated for childhood diseases. The goal is to put a smile on the faces of kids who are going through a very difficult time. These kids are the true heroes and the funds raised by this foundation go directly to improving their quality of life.