Rex Darmanin-Rees has had more than his fair share of battles in life.
Rex Darmanin-Rees has had more than his fair share of battles in life. Warren Lynam

Young fighter Rex sees off his own firestorm

REX Darmanin-Rees would make a great firefighter. He's already got the second part of the title down pat.

The seven-year-old from Little Mountain was diagnosed with leukemia three-and-a-half years ago. A few weeks ago he was declared a healthy little boy.

"There's been a lot of intensive chemo throughout that period, lots of hospital trips," Rex's dad Matt said.

"In the last couple of weeks he's finished his treatment.

"He got to ring the bell in the hospital at the Children's for the end of the treatment.

"It's been a long three-and-a-half years ... it's back to normal now."

Donning a uniform that looked as though it was made just for him, Rex visited the Caloundra Fire Station to say hello to the friends he made during his treatment.

In July 2012, the Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Rex's dream to be a fireman for a day, an experience he still talks about.

"It's pretty good now I get to come back and see them," Rex said.

"I feel really special and happy.

"It's cool going to spray the hose and putting out fires and riding in the trucks.

"I think riding in the truck and getting to use all of the electrical stuff (are the best parts)."

Taking another tour of the station, Rex crooked his neck to look up at senior fireman John Herbert with a look of admiration in his eye.

One day, he wants to be a firefighter just like him.

"It's just wonderful to see him," Mr Herbert said.

"He's looking fantastic and he's just a great little kid as well.

"Unfortunately we've had some other little kids come through that haven't had the same result."

Mr Herbert has been a firefighter for 34 years and one of the perks is making children smile.

"We'll be driving the truck and see kids and flick the lights on and give them a wave and make their day and they don't realise it made our day as well. That's the fun part," he said.

For the next 12 months Rex will have check-ups and blood tests every six weeks.

"Then it just drops off until five years and that's it, we're free," Rex's mum Kristen said.

"It's really strange. This is the first month we've had no hospital appointments.

"It's a little bit weird but I'm sure we'll get used to it."

Kristen said Rex had been a ball of energy since finishing treatment.

"We've been walking to school, which he hasn't been able to do,'' she said.

"We did it for the first time the other day and he said, 'Mum, it's great. I've got so much energy because all my leukaemia's gone,'" she said.

"He feels more like a normal kid now."


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