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Children at Malaga hospital can 'drive' to operating theatre in mini fire engines

One of the mini fire engines donated to the Hospital Materno Infantíl in Malaga.
One of the mini fire engines donated to the Hospital Materno Infantíl in Malaga. / SUR
  • The donation of the electric vehicles which help reduce anxiety and fear in the sick youngsters came about after a seven-year-old cancer patient, Benjamin, left his mark on Costa del Sol firefighters

Kind-hearted Marbella firefighters have donated two battery-powered electric fire engines to Malaga’s Hospital Materno Infantíl.

It means that in some cases the children can leave the stretcher behind and ‘drive’ themselves to the operating theatre or to face important tests – and do it with the same courage that the firefighters face the flames.

The hospital’s deputy director, Víctor Navas, explains that the vehicles are used at the time of separation from the parents and insists that the mini fire engines are tools and not toys. He said, "They are used in the most critical areas of the hospital and help face traumatic moments in a more relaxed way which reduces stress, anxiety and fear. They are controlled remotely by care staff."

Firefighters delivered the two battery-powered vehicles to the hospital at Christmas although they could not personally give them to children because of the pandemic prevention measures.

Cancer boy

The initiative came about after a seven-year-old cancer patient at the hospital, Benjamin, left his mark on the firefighters.

In October 2018, while he was playing football, Benjamin felt a severe headache and became dizzy. He was diagnosed with brain cancer that was inoperable and led to paralysis. But he began treatment and improved and the doctors recommended that he go back to school. The problem was that he lived on the fourth floor of a building in Marbella, without a lift, with his mother and a brother. It was impossible for them to carrying Benjamin up and down the stairs daily, and that’s when the AVOI Association of Children's Oncology Volunteers asked the Marbella firefighters for help.

Benjamin soon won over the firefighters with his smile and began to leave the house. Every day a team from the fire station would take him down the four floors and at two in the afternoon would make the return journey after finishing classes.

Children at Malaga hospital can 'drive' to operating theatre in mini fire engines

Firefighters deliver the mini fire engines to the hospital in Malaga.

/ SUR

Funeral

Firefighters also began fundraising to help the child and his family, with their limited financial resources. They helped pay for improvements at Benjamin's house.

Sadly the little boy died in July 2019. The firefighters paid for his funeral with some of the money they had collected. There was cash left over and that is when they decided to invest it in those little ones who are going through a difficult situation, just like Benjamin.

The Marbella firefighters saw a video of a sick child going to the operating theatre in one of the electric cars and decided that it was a great idea, so they bought two fire engines for 500 euros each.