Fire Department Holds Parade for 8-Year-Old with Mystery Disease: She's the 'Honorary Fire Girl'
Addi Carroll has endured several hospital visits, and even brain surgery, throughout her life as she suffers from an undiagnosed illness. But the 8-year-old Vermont native sported a wide smile on Dec. 11 thanks to her friends: the local firefighters.
That night, 12 vehicles — filled with firefighters, police officers, and EMTs — went down the road of Carroll’s Essex Junction home, with their lights blaring and Santa Claus in tow.
“She’s been having a rough time lately so we did this kind of as a perk up,” Deputy Fire Chief Phil Noyes tells PEOPLE.
Fire officials shared a video of the sweet display on Facebook, with fire trucks, police cars and an ambulance riding slowly down the road with their sirens loud. Carroll can be seen giggling and smiling wide as Santa approached.
“It’s awesome. This is why I’m in the fire service,” says Noyes, who was part of the parade. “I love helping my neighbor out. Being able to put a smile on a kid’s face, especially a sick little girl like that, is just an awesome feeling.”
Carroll has been in and out of hospitals for most of her life due to the undiagnosed disease that has left her with severe pain and vomiting.
“She can’t go to school. she can’t have her friends over for a play date,” Carroll’s mother, Tammy, told WPTZ. “So it’s been not-so-festive this Christmas season for us.”
In a Facebook post after the parade, Tammy praised the firefighters and highlighted Carroll’s special connection with them.
“What I realize is that making her smile means just as much to all of them as it does to us,” she wrote of the firefighters. “She takes her responsibilities seriously as the department’s honorary fire girl every day when she hears their sirens, sees them out in the community or repeatedly flips through videos and photos of her experiences with them.”