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Cancer survivor celebrates with Lubbock Fire Rescue

Updated: Jan. 5, 2022 at 9:30 AM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - In August of 2019, the Ibarra family received news nobody wants to hear. Rosemary’s son, Jacob was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, one of the most common forms of childhood cancer. Even through the tough times, Jacob Ibarra held on to his passion- fire trucks.

“He is like, obsessed with fire trucks. Ambulances, helicopters, fire trucks, everything!,” said his mother, Rosemary Ibarra. “He loves it. He watches videos, about fire trucks.”

Even the nurses at Covenant Children’s Hospital had a chance to share in the experience.

“Every month, he would incorporate fire trucks into his stories,” said Annessa Lawson, who worked closely with Jacob throughout his journey.”

While the ringing of a bell often signifies a win against cancer, friends and family took it one step closer. Even after Jacob took part in the symbolic bell-ringing, he and his loved ones walked over to a surprise of fire engines, courtesy of Lubbock Fire Rescue.

“I reached out to the Covenant Foundation, and Meredith from Marketing, and they were able to reach out to the Lubbock Fire Department,” Lawson said.

“Annessa, which we say that’s his girlfriend because he loves her,” Rosemary joked. “She set it all up, and it was a surprise. She told me at the end of last month, when she was going to do all this and we were totally overwhelmed. I’m like ‘Whoa, that is awesome!”

Just last month, Jacob was hospitalized once more. This time, with COVID-19. After eight days of being sidelined, he was released. Since Jacob has down syndrome, all forms of medical care must be approached differently.

“They can’t do it fully-aggressive like they normally do,” Rosemary said. “He was getting the treatment, getting the chemo- and, within a month, actually- he was in remission. I’m so grateful that he got through it, and he is cancer free right now!”

Jacob graduated from Frenship High School back in May. Since he’s been educated with homebound job skills, his mother hopes he can find a job once the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic improves.

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