FIREFIGHTERS’ GIFT FOR FAISUL
Sabah Fire and Rescue Dept staff fulfil wish of leukaemia boy to be firefighter for a day
MUHAMMAD Faisul Iman, 13, had butterflies in his stomach as he waited eagerly for the day he could become a firefighter.
The wheelchair-bound boy, who is battling leukaemia, was so excited that he could not sleep. Yesterday, he woke up at 6am, two hours earlier than usual.
Three hours later, Faisul, decked in firefighting gear, ditched his wheelchair for a memorable tour on a fire engine at Women and Children Hospital in Likas here.
His dream of becoming a firefighter was realised, thanks to the Children’s Wish Society (CWS) of Malaysia and the Sabah Fire and Rescue Department.
“The happiness I feel right now is indescribable,” Faisul told reporters, even as he had difficulty speaking.
Faisul had his first bout of precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when he was 6. This meant he had too many immature white blood cells in his blood and bone marrow. He started chemotherapy at a young age, and has since been in and out of hospital undergoing treatment.
Faisul, from Kampung Seri Menanti in Kinarut, Papar, was strong and active until his health deteriorated and he could no longer attend school.
This year, he has spent most of the time in hospital and is now on palliative care.
His sister, Farah Lyana Yakub, 23, said Faisul, a pupil of SK Kinarut, discontinued his studies last September.
“He is smart and interested in his studies. However, due to the side effects of chemotherapy, it is difficult for him to remember.
“His voice has weakened, so he talks slowly.
“Today, however, I think it is one of his better days. He is so excited to speak to reporters and visitors.”
She said Faisul’s ailment did not dampen his spirits to become a firefighter. When the hospital personnel heard about his passion, they contacted CWS to help grant his wish.
Yesterday morning, a team of firefighters escorted Faisul as he sat at the helm of a fire engine truck.
Faisul’s firefighting experience was capped with a surprise birthday party, which he celebrated with the firefighters, hospital staff, family members and friends at the hospital.
Despite the side effects and exhaustion of the latest round of chemotherapy, he put on a brave front as he thanked everyone for the memorable day.
“I hope to become a firefighter someday so that I can help people, too,” he said, with a shy smile.
Women and Children Hospital paediatrician Dr Sam Chian Hoon said Faisul’s condition took a turn for the worse after a stronger dose of chemotherapy a few weeks ago.
“Currently, there is no prognosis for recovery, but we will continue with the treatment. Transplants are an option, depending on his health condition.”
Sabah Fire and Rescue Department personnel helping Mohammad Faisul Iman to handle a hose reel in the compound of Women and Children Hospital in Kota Kinabalu yesterday.