North Collier firefighters build playground for 4-year-old cancer survivor

Adrian Cruz may only be four years old but he already knows what he wants to do as an adult.

Adrian wants to be a firefighter and members of the North Collier Fire Department are helping him achieve that by building him a new playground.

Adrian has spent half his life battling leukemia. Doctors declared him cancer-free in December.

To say that Adrian likes firefighters would be an understatement.

“I just know that was his first word. Firefighters,” said Nicole Cruz, Adrian’s mom.

Adrian has firefighters in his room and his books. And this past March 30, in his backyard, putting together a playset that was gifted to him by 2297 firefighters, the union that represents the North Collier Fire Department.

The playground cost the union members about $1,600. It was paid by their union dues.

“We ran it just like a fire,” said Jeff Morse, battalion chief for the North Collier Fire Rescue District. “We had one of our battalion chiefs become the supervisor on the job; he broke us up into teams and the teams worked on their little individual pieces and we were able to knock it out within five hours.”

Morse contacted Adrian’s family after hearing about his love for firefighters and his leukemia battle.

“He’s been very strong but still we battled a lot with his steroids, getting grumpy, not wanting to eat, always on soft foods liquids,” Cruz said.

Adrian is cancer-free and was able to spend all day outside helping his heroes build his new playset.

“He’ll run away from people but with the firefighters, it’s like he knew they were firefighters, and he just came up and warmed up to them,” Cruz said. “He wouldn’t even leave them alone.”

Susana Webb, a firefighter with Local  2297, said it’s a great feeling.

“The family was with us so it felt like we all knew each other for a long time,” Webb said.

Reporter:Rachel Cox-Rosen
Writer:Melissa Montoya
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