Florida boy celebrates end of cancer treatment, with local first responders by his side
FORT WALTON BEACH—Due to the restrictions of COVID-19, a 6-year-old boy celebrated kicking cancer a little differently.
Traditionally, after finishing the final round of chemotherapy, most patients will ring a ceremonial bell at a hospital. But, because of the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, Carter McPherson was not able to celebrate in this traditional way.
Instead, he rang the Fort Walton Beach Fire Department’s bell outside his home surrounded by members of the city police and fire departments as well as firefighters from Ocean City-Wright and Okaloosa Island.
“It solidifies the call and what it means to be a firefighter,” said Fort Walton Beach Fire Department Battalion Chief David Stone, who helped coordinate the celebration. “This is one of our favorite parts of the job.”
Carter was also awarded a Kick-It Award plaque and a celebration package from Brittany’s Wish-Kidz Kicking Leukemia.
The Monday afternoon bell ringing was followed by a tour of firetrucks and the SWAT vehicle.
Tiffany McPherson, Carter’s mom, said she wanted to thank all those who supported her son’s journey in kicking cancer.
“He’ll never forget this and neither will I,” she said.
Carter began treatment for pre-B cell lymphoblastic leukemia in Central Florida when he was 3 years old. He moved to the Fort Walton Beach area to finish the last of his treatment.
“I owe my life to God, and the doctor and the nurses and everybody in this world that helps children that have cancer,” Tiffany said.
Carter said his favorite part of the parade was seeing the SWAT vehicle.
“I loved the SWAT,” he said. “I wanna be grown up, so I can be on the SWAT team.”
Stone said he hopes the celebration was something Carter never forgets.
“Maybe one day we’ll see him in the firehouse; you never know,” Stone said.