Two brothers make a wish

With lights flashing and sirens blaring, Glendale firefighters roared into the Americana at Brand Monday night and whisked away brothers Juan and Gerardo Rodriguez.

The maneuver wasn't part of an emergency rescue, but rather the fulfillment of a wish, the 10th such wish to be granted this holiday season by the Make a Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles.

Both brothers, who live with their family in Inglewood, are being treated at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles for life threatening illnesses. Juan, 14, is suffering from renal failure and needs a liver transplant. Gerardo, 8, has leukemia.

Gerardo, who aspires to be a firefighter, wished for a firefighter experience. And Juan requested a shopping spree. Having two seriously ill children in one family is unusual, and made fulfilling their wishes all the more satisfying, said Steve Vanderpool, vice president of the Make a Wish Foundation.

"We try and go well beyond what the wish is because sometimes this wish is something as simple as an Xbox," Vanderpool said.

Gerardo was presented with a personalized firefighter jumpsuit, jacket and helmet.

"I think for a firefighter it means a lot to be able to participate in any type of event for the community, but this one is extra special because of the circumstances surrounding the young man's wish," said Glendale Fire Chief Harold Scoggins.

Juan was given a $400 gift card to Game Stop, and will be taken on a shopping spree in the coming months.

The boys' parents, Fermin and Maria Gonzalez, and their three siblings, were present to mark the occasion.

"They are so happy," said Maria Rodriguez. "They asked me when it was going to be, when is the day going to arrive, how many days were left."

The entire family was then treated to dinner with Glendale fire personnel at Glendale Fire Station No. 21.

"It is that season, but it touches everybody's heart to be able to help," Scoggins said. "We are just happy we are in a position to be able to grant someone's wish for something that we think we are very fortunate to do each and every day."

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World