Childhood dream

Tony Maschino was a three-year-old boy like any other, with eyes full of stars and infinite dreams. One of them was to become a firefighter. "This is something he truly loves. He's always been a fan of the Police and Fire departments. We'd be driving down the street and he'd be wanting to put his window down to wave to them," Stephanie, his mother, said.

He was the ultimate joy in her life, so her world was totally shattered in October 2016 when a seemingly minor accident ended up revealing a much more serious problem.

Find out more about this sad yet heartwarming story in this video:

When Tony fell and hurt himself, his parents brought him to the hospital. They were worried, but felt sure that their little boy was in good hands and would be all right. But then came the shock — while examining Tony the doctors made a tragic discovery: he had brain cancer and could only expect to live for another six months. The family was devastated.

Stephanie and Shawn had to start coming to terms with the incredible loss they were about to face. Tony was still with them and they knew they had to make the most of the precious time that he had left. His little body was succumbing to the cancer — he soon couldn't walk anymore — but his mind was still as sharp and bright as ever. "He has not complained nor cried. He is simply incredible," said his father.

The tragic story spread throughout the community and people were anxious to help in any way they could. Word eventually reached the Pittsfield Fire department where they also found out about Tony's biggest dream: to become a firefighter. It didn't take long for them to prepare a very special surprise for him and considering that Tony's condition was worsening much faster than expected, it was a good thing that they acted quickly.

Tony was at home when he heard the noise of the sirens he liked so much. When he realized that the firefighters were coming for him with their four trucks and two cars, he couldn't believe his eyes. But the surprise wasn't just a ride in firetruck — Tony was actually made an honorary firefighter!

"It came from everybody. We are like a little family and we all came up with the idea,” Matthew Mazzeo, a member of the department, explained. Tony was given a plaque certifying his position as a firefighter, a complete set of equipment including a jacket with his name on it, and all kinds of toys.