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Jayden's big day

Posted on 01/01/2009 12:00am

April 9 was a day nine-year-old Jayden Dalman, and Langley City firefighters, won't soon forget.
Troy Landreville, Langley Advance
Published: Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"I don't know who's more excited: the firefighters or Jayden," remarked Capt. Dave Sanders, just prior to Jayden Dalman's arrival to the Langley City Fire Hall Thursday morning.

Jayden, a nine-year-old Maple Ridge resident, was wide-eyed and looked a bit overwhelmed as a swarm of firefighters and newspaper reporters strolled out to greet him at the fire hall's front entrance.

"Remember the adventure we talked about?" Jayden's grandpa Ron Dalman asked him. "This is it!"

Capt. Dave Sanders and Jayden Dalman had a blast as they teamed to discharge a fire hose.
Troy Landreville/Langley Advance
The boy's visit was arranged through a friend of a family and Sanders, City of Langley fire prevention officer.

"When you've got a little fellow who has gone through the adversities in life he has, we're more than happy to help out, absolutely," Sanders said.

Jayden, Langley City Fire Rescue Service honorary firefighter for the day April 9, knows a thing or two about adversity. He was born premature and with Cerebral Palsy, and underwent heart surgery when he was just a few months old. Last spring he developed a lump on his neck, which turned out to be Burkitt's lymphoma, a rare form of aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that affects children.

From mid-August to November 2008 Jayden lived at BC Children's Hospital, where he endured five rounds of chemotherapy.

Ron, who stayed close by Jayden's side throughout the visit to the fire hall, said his grandson is now cancer free.

"He's become pretty special to Grandpa," Ron said. "He's my special little guy. We're good buds."

Why does Jayden like firefighters so much? His answer is straightforward: "Because they go to fires and they spray hoses. Plus I like the fire chief."

There was plenty of excitement when firefighters rushed away to a call. Jayden had a special request for them.

"Guys!" he exclaimed. "Once outside, turn your lights on."

Jayden rushed outside to watch the truck turn north onto 203rd Street. And, on cue, they obliged.

It was a full couple of hours for Jayden, who was outfitted with turnout gear, discharged a fire hose, and was chauffeured around town in a fire truck. The best part, Jayden said, "was when the firefighters went away," to perform their duties.

© Langley Advance 2009