This story has gone viral through Facebook and has been retold thousands of times. Along the way, things have been modified. Sometimes Bopsy is named “Billy”. But despite all the details that may have changed along the way one indisputable fact remains – Bopsy’s story is well worth to be shared and spread. Because it’s actually a true story.
The 26-year-old mom looks at her son. He’s dying of chronic leukemia.
Even if her heart was filled with sorrow, she was determined. Just like every other parent she wanted her son to grow up and fulfill his dreams. But that was no longer possible.
That’s what the blood cancer told them.
But she refused to give up. The mother still wanted her son to fulfill all of his dreams. She grabbed his hand and asked: “Bopsy. Have you ever thought about what you want to do when you’re a grown up? Have you ever dreamed about how you your life as a grown up would be?”
Bopsy answered: “Mom, I have always dreamed of becoming a firefighter”.
His mom smiled and told him: “Okay, let’s see if we can make your wish come true”.
Later that day the mother walked down to the local fire station in Phoenix, Arizona. She met the friendly firefighter Bob.
She explained her son’s dying wish and asked if it was possible to take the seven-year-old kid for a drive around the block in one of Bob’s firetrucks.
Bob replied: “Sure, but I think we can do better than that. If your son’s here at Wednesday morning 7 AM, we will make him a real firefighter for a whole day. He can come down to the station, eat with us, tag along in every call-out and every alarm we’ll get”.
He continued: “And if you give us his size we can get him some proper firefighter clothes, with a real helmet. Not a toy helmet, a real one with a Phoenix Fire Department decal on it. He gets the same kind of clothing like we use and the same rubber boots. We can arrange this pretty easily since it’s manufactured here in Phoenix”.
Three days later firefighter Bob met with 7-year-old Bopsy. The boy had to put on his firefighter outfit and drove away from the hospital with Bob. Bopsy jumped into the firetruck and went to the fire station. He was in heaven.
This day it was three callouts in Phoenix. Bopsy went on all three. He got to try several kinds of fire trucks, including the medicals car and the marshals car. He also helped the local news station with some filming. To fulfill his dream, with all the attention and affection that followed, truly boosted the sick boy. After that day as a firefighter, Bopsy lived three months longer than expected. The doctors couldn’t believe it was possible.
But then, one night, his most vital organs started to give up. The nurse, who was determined that no one should die alone, immediately started contacting all of his relatives. She also thought of that day when he was a firefighter. So she contacted the marshal and asked if it was possible to send a firefighter in his full uniform so he could be by Bopsy’s side the last hours.
The marshal answered: “I think we can do better than that. We’ll be there in five minutes. But can you do me one favor? When you hear the sirens roar and you see the flash of the blue lights you can tell the staff and all the patients that there’s no fire. It’s just the fire department who wants to pay a visit to one of their finest colleagues. And would you please open the window in Bopsy’s room?”.
Approximately five minutes later the firetrucks arrived at the hospital. They started to hoist a ladder to Bopsys open window on the third floor. 16 firefighters climbed up the ladder and went into Bopsy’s room. After they’ve got his mom’s permission, they all hugged him and told him how much they loved him.
During one of his last breaths, Bopsy looked upon the marshal and asked: “Boss, am I a real firefighter now?”
The marshal answered: “Yes. Of course you are. You’re a real firefighter now”.
Bopsy smiled at him and closed his eyes. Later that night he passed away.
32 years after Bopsy died in leukemia, The Huffington Post investigated the story. A lot of people thought it was just another beautiful tale, but it turned out that most of it was true. They talked to both Bopsys mother and firefighter “Bob”, whose real name is Bob Walp. He confirmed big parts of the story.
It was back in 1978 Frank “Bopsy” Salazar, at the time 5-years-old, was diagnosed with leukemia. The mother, Octaviana Trujlillo, is not upset over parts that are possibly forgotten, or made up details in the story about her son. Because every version of this story contains the most important part – a 7-year-old boys dying wish to become a firefighter.
”My son exists and is just fine… In so many people’s hearts”, Trujlillo says.
This amazing effort also inspired Linda Pauling and Paul Shankwitz to start the foundation Make-A-Wish Foundation. They make a huge job for sick kids and they’ve had a lot of attention thanks to social media.
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