5-year-old cancer patient sworn in to Unified Fire Authority

Feb 23, 2024, 5:47 PM | Updated: Feb 24, 2024, 2:04 pm

MIDVALE — Like many 5-year-olds, Henry Sorenson would love to be a firefighter when he grows up. So, he was very excited when he learned that the Unified Fire Authority wanted to make it happen.

“We got in the car, and I asked him if he wanted to go be a fireman, and he said yeah,” said Melinda Sorenson, Henry’s mother. “He couldn’t wait to go.”

On Friday, Chief Dom Burchett swore Henry in at UFA’s Station 126 in Midvale.

“Raise your right hand,” said Burchett during the ceremony. “You are very brave. Congratulations.”

Five-year-old Henry Sorenson geared up in a Unified Fire Authority outfit. (Tanner Seigworth, KSL TV)

The firefighters wanted to do this for Henry because as fast as they are fighting fires, time is even more important when it’s a little boy battling cancer.

“We are so lucky because we caught it fast,” Melinda said. “We were up at Primary (Children’s) within three weeks of finding out. We thought he had a fracture.”

At the age of 5, Henry has already been through chemotherapy for bone cancer.

“The worst night for him was actually the night we buzzed his head because it was coming out (and) he wants to have the hair that all the boys have,” Melinda said.

Henry wearing a UFA helmet.

Henry wearing a UFA helmet. (Tanner Siegworth, KSL TV)

Next week, his bone cancer will require surgery that will remove a portion of his leg. Before those tough days ahead, however, Henry was able to be a firefighter, learning about the equipment and tools of the trade.

In the middle of it all, there was even a dispatch call where Henry was called by name because he was needed to put out a fire.

“We’ve got to go! Come on!” said UFA Capt. Steven Schmidt. “We’ve got to get your turnout gear on!”

Not only did Henry get his own firefighting gear, but he also was able to ride in a fire truck to quickly respond to a fire that just happened to be burning in the parking lot of the fire station.

Henry in the firetruck.

Henry in the firetruck. (Tanner Siegworth, KSL TV)

“You ready?” asked a firefighter as Henry took the lead position on the fire hose. “Twist this.”

Henry took down the fire, which was in a small metal box, in less than a minute.

“You did it, dude,” said a firefighter while giving Henry a high-five.

Henry Sorenson with a UFA firefighter taking down the fire.

Henry Sorenson, with a UFA firefighter, taking down the fire. (Tanner Siegworth, KSL TV)

After taking pictures with his family, it was back inside to really experience being a firefighter.

“We heard that firefighter Henry really likes spaghetti right now, and chocolate milk,” Schmidt said.

Henry and his family had a meal with the firefighters.

“This has been an awesome experience,” said Henry’s mother.

Henry at dinner with firefighters.

Henry at dinner with firefighters. (Tanner Siegworth, KSL TV)

Henry’s smile said it all. It was a reminder that no matter what challenges he might have next, he is now part of an extended family who will always be there for him.

“He made our day,” Stevens said. “It takes everybody doing a little bit to make a big difference.”

If you wish to support Henry’s battle with cancer, you can go to his family’s GoFundMe*.

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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5-year-old cancer patient sworn in to Unified Fire Authority