BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Firefighters from across Western New York came together Tuesday night to help grant a wish to a young boy who is battling brain cancer.
Ben Stromecki, 12, comes from a family of firefighters. Tuesday, he got his wish to take a journey on the world's oldest working fireboat.
"Changes your world, definitely. But you learn, you deal with it, and you go through what you need to do. You're supported by a lot of people, a lot of family, a lot of friends. That helps us out more than anything," says Ben’s mom, Kim Stromecki.
One of Ben's wishes was to take a trip on the Edward M. Cotter in Buffalo.
"We've learned to focus on the positives. So, no matter what bad stuff has come around, there's always things like this that we have to look forward to," says Ben’s dad, David Stromecki.
Ben and his family got to take a break from all of the hospital appointments to spend some time together and make some new friends on the Cotter. Along with the boat's crew, firefighters from Depew, Orchard Park, Buffalo got together to organize Tuesday's trip.
"It was just something that we felt like we had to do, and we're very happy to be a small part of it," says Jan Kostran with Depew Hook and Ladder #1.
Jan's group already had the boat reserved for the night, and when the request came in from Orchard Park Police to grant Ben's wish, the plan came together. Jan made it his mission to grant Ben's wish.
"We're just trying to make a better journey for him," says Assistant Chief Jamie Nusall with Depew Hook and Ladder #1. "Family wanted him to be with firemen, so it was, I guess the stars couldn't have aligned even better, so, it's a great day today."
This trip was even more meaningful because Ben's dad is a firefighter himself with the Hillcrest Fire Company. And, that's why Ben wished for this - so they could go as a family and extended family that includes the firefighters - even if they're just meeting for the first time.
"It's incredible the way everybody pulls together. You know, it really is, it's heartwarming," says Ben’s mom.
"The brotherhood with the fire service has been phenomenal for us. So, it's been awesome," says Ben’s dad.
If you'd like to help Ben's family with medical expenses, there are two ways to do that.
There's a meat raffle on October 14 at the Armor Fire Hall. There is also a fund set up at M&T Bank under "Ben Be Strong."
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