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Local Fire Companies Honor Boy Fighting Rare Cancer

RIDGEBURY TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WETM-18) – One little boy’s fight has prompted support from the community, including area fire departments.
RIDGEBURY TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WETM-18) – One little boy’s fight has prompted support from the community, including area fire departments.

Dakota Wade is a smiling, 11 year old boy. But about a month and a half ago, his family noticed he wasn’t acting like himself. “He ended up having fluid on the brain, so he had to have a shunt put in,” said Deborah Dickerson, Dakota’s grandmother. “He was released two days after that, he went hunting and got a four-point.”

But Dakota still wasn’t getting better. Finally, doctors reached a diagnosis. “Cancer,” said Dakota. “It’s really making me mad.” Specifically, Dakota has Stage 4 PNET cancer, a rare cancer of the brain lining and spine.

But Dakota isn’t letting that anger keep him from smiling, and local fire companies are working to keep him that way. “They came up to my house when it was my birthday, at my birthday party last Saturday,” said Dakota. It was a surprise that made him an honorary member of the Ridgebury Volunteer Fire Company.

“It made me happy,” said Dakota. “Because I always wanted to be a firefighter.”

“Everybody’s like family in the area, so Dakota’s almost like another son to me, to the community,” said First Assistant Fire Chief Brian Minnick of the Ridgebury Volunteer Fire Company. “So it’s very special being able to help out and do something for him.”

Other fire departments have made Dakota an honorary member as well, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation is sending to Disney World in May. But he still has one wish left.

“His first wish is to be a Dickerson,” said Deborah. Right now, there is a petition in the court system to change Dakota’s last name from Wade to Dickerson. “Regardless if his last name isn’t changed right away, we call him Dickerson, because he’s our family.”

“This little guy right here, I would do anything for him,” said Ashley Dickerson, Dakota’s cousin. “It breaks my heart to watch him go through this.”

Dakota’s family has a number of benefits planned to help support him and ease the burden of his medical costs, as well as raise awareness about cancer. You can get more information on the benefits by heading to the Team Dakota Facebook Page or the Team Dakota website.
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