HALL COUNTY, Ga. - A little warrior battling cancer got to spend the day with the heroes he looks up to.
At just four months old, Asher Rock was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma, a rare form of childhood cancer that causes malignant tumors to grow on the retina of the eye. Cancer causes Asher to only be able to be able to see out of his right eye.
Asher's mother Josie says, "The past 32 months have been a roller-coaster ride to say the least. Just when we think we are in the clear, a reoccurrence of tumor growth would show up."
Despite fighting a battle no child should ever have to go through, Josie says Asher continues to prove strength beyond his age. "Asher is your typical rambunctious toddler, with the most loving spirit, and he is obsessed with Paw Patrol, Mickey Mouse, and his most beloved fire trucks."
And that love of fire trucks shined on his face when Asher got to be a "firefighter for a day." Thanks to the Team Summer organization and the Hall County Fire Department, Asher got to spend a day just being a kid. No MRIs, no anesthesia, just a child getting to experience his absolute favorite thing in the world.
Team Summer organizes ways for kids with cancer to help other kids with cancer. And when they approached Asher's family to ask what he might want to do on his special day, the answer was obvious to them.
"The organization contacted me to ask what gift Asher might like to receive, and my husband and I came to the conclusion that at this moment in life, our family should be more focused on experiences rather than things"
Asher's special day was presented to him by his friend Jocelyn. Jocelyn suffers from the same form of cancer as Asher and they have become good friends.
Josie says that at times Asher can get a little overwhelmed when there is a lot of attention on him, but that was definitely not an issue once he put on his fireman's uniform. Asher got to spray the fire hose, take a ride in the truck with the sirens on, and play with his heroes.
"The world stops around him just so he can find [firetrucks], and he always waves his little arm off when they pass him by."
Josie said it was an emotional experience to see the firefighters paying so much attention to her son. She says they spent hours playing with him and treating him like one of their own.
Even though Asher's prognosis is great, he still has some difficult years ahead of him. But thanks to the Hall County Fire Department and Team Summer, he got to spend the day smiling from ear to ear.
"Now Asher gets to pay it forward to another child who is having a rough time, and we can't wait to do so! "