- Associated Press - Sunday, August 20, 2017

SYCAMORE, Ill. (AP) - Whoever said fire trucks are just for boys has never taken a ride on Leslie.

On July 28, Leslie the Pink Heals fire truck made a special stop in Sycamore to pick up 7-year-old Caedyn Waxman, and the pink uniform-clad firefighters who stepped off had a special message for her: She’s not fighting cancer alone.

Caedyn giggled with excitement as Leslie pulled up to her grandma’s house, where a gathering of family and friends watched, wearing their own pink shirts that read, “Caedyn’s tougher than cancer.”

Sycamore police and firefighters gave Leslie and escort from the station to the house on High Street. They shared hugs and gifts with Caedyn before she signed her name next to hundreds of others on the truck.

Caedyn rode twice around the block, once in the front cab and once on the back with her family crowded in and waving to passersby along the way.



Brian Tribley, president of the Sauk Valley Chapter of Pink Heals, said Leslie has been on tours all over the United States and recently made trips through the Chicago area, in order to raise cancer awareness.

It is one of more than 200 vehicles for more than 61 chapters of Pink Heals nationwide, he said. The engines are covered with signatures of people who have fought and are fighting cancer, as well as anyone who knows anyone affected by it.

Tribley said the Caedyn’s support from family and friends, as well as the Sycamore police and fire departments, is what made the trip a wonderful experience.

“She’ll be talking about this I think for years to come, and that’s the purpose of it,” he said. “We know she’s going through a difficult time with what she’s dealing with; we are here just to brighten her day and let her know we’re with her on this.”

Courtney Chesser, Caedyn’s mom, said she learned Caedyn has a form of malignant cancer in her mouth in late June, and Caedyn has already has had to endure a seven-hour long surgery.

“She’s strong,” Chesser said. “It was a little shocking at first; she was scared, but now she’s said that they gave this to her because they knew she could handle it.”

She said her daughter is a “fun-loving” girl whose hobbies include swimming, soccer and playing outside.

“She just wants to get back to swimming and life as a 7-year-old,” Chesser said.

Tina Chesser, Caedyn’s grandma, said the visit from the Pink Heals fire truck was a huge deal, and gave the family a chance to show Caedyn just how many people care about her.

Tina Chesser said Caedyn has taken a picture with a pink fire truck before, and once she realized that one was coming for her, Caedyn’s nerves turned to excitement.

“This has just been great,” she said. “Caedyn is such a strong girl, and we couldn’t be more proud of her.”

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Source: The (DeKalb) Daily Chronicle, https://bit.ly/2vmTrQ2

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Information from: The Daily Chronicle, https://www.daily-chronicle.com

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