"She's like a butterfly, and now she gets to fly. And so many kids with cancer don't get this opportunity."
To say the past two years have been challenging for six-year-old Selah Grace Henderson would be an understatement. Since she was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma in 2015, the young girl from Dana, North Carolina has had tumors removed from her lung and adrenal gland, and been through five rounds of chemotherapy.
It was a battle hard won, and now Sela and her family have come out the other side grateful for every moment they feared she’d never have. Take, for example, her first day of first grade at Dana Elementary School on Monday.
"After the long, two-year battle with cancer, you know, she finally gets to go to school and be normal," Selah’s dad Brandon told WLOS.
Like many in the community, chief Jimmy Womack of the Dana Volunteer Fire Department, had been following her story on Selah Grace's Journey Facebook page. And on Monday morning he surprised her with a ride to school in the passenger seat of the department’s shiny yellow Engine #19.
"Just wanted to give her an opportunity to ride in a fire truck on her first day," Womack told WLOS.
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Giddy with excitement, Selah requested Womack turn the sirens on for the short ride. Just like any normal six year old would.
"Once he turned the siren on, the reality started hitting me and emotions," her mom Michelle said. "Seeing her sit there like a big girl."
Selah arrived to school with confidence, but a long hug from mom left them both with tears in their eyes. The magnitude of the moment hit them both at once. Michelle managed to quickly compose herself, and offered her daughter a fist bump and a smile. "You're gonna do great!" he told her. "You're gonna have a great day. I love you."
And like that she was off.
"She's like a butterfly, and now she gets to fly," Michelle, told WLOS with tears in her eyes and a tremble in her voice. "And so many kids with cancer don't get this opportunity."