Boy battling illness fulfills life-long dream of becoming firefighter thanks to Make-A-Wish

Darla Miles Image
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
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Antonio Garcia-Cardozo fulfilled his dream of becoming a firefighter thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Passaic County Fire Department. Darla Miles has more on the inspiring story.

MONROE TOWNSHIP, New Jersey (WABC) -- A little boy from New Jersey battling a serious illness had his dream come true after getting to train to become a full-fledged firefighter.

"I used to tell my mom look, firefighters -- and I told my mom that one day I wanted to be a firefighter, and I'm a firefighter," Antonio Garcia-Cardozo said.

Nine-year-old Antonio Garcia-Cardozo, the fearless hero, got to save a princess from a burning castle.

"I went first to the fire academy. There was some smoke, I got to turn off the fire," Garcia-Cardozo said.

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What truly made this four-foot firefighter heroic, was not a simulated selfless act rescuing a damsel from distress, it's his real-life battle with a critical, life-threatening illness that inspired more than 100 firefighters to show up in Monroe Township Tuesday morning to participate in the Make-A-Wish Foundation event to fulfill Garcia-Cardozo's dream. It's one he's had since he was 2 years old.

"This little guy wants to be you, each and every one of you firemen and women here, every one of you firefighters here today," Make-A-Wish CEO Tom Weatherall said.

"Our day started early at the Westside Firehouse where Antonio got a quick introduction to checking all the equipment out," said Chief Patrick Trentacost of the Passaic County Fire Department.

Garcia-Cardozo joined in the morning routine with the fire department before his official swearing in ceremony. He even received his own shield.

"Everybody was just so honored to have this kid here," said Capt. Bart Rutherford. "He was part of our junior academy earlier this year and he did wonderful things. We just love him, he's part of our family now."

For a child battling a serious illness, the more family he has, the better.

"He's always positive, never negative," Antonio's brother Bryan Garcia-Cardozo said. "That's one thing I like about him. He inspires me every day."

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