70ºF

12-year-old cancer patient rings victory bell

Firefighters help young cancer patient with idea

SAN ANTONIO – An inspirational 12-year-old boy who is fighting bone cancer caught the eye of San Antonio firefighters throughout his journey.

His name is Damon Billeck and he joined forces with the San Antonio Fire Department to get a cancer victory bell. Tuesday was his turn to ring the bell at University Hospital.

"It felt really good to know that I’m done," said Damon, after victoriously ringing the bell.

Being able to stand up here and claim victory over the bone cancer that came back to take his life is a feat in itself. It was an emotional day for everyone who went out to support Damon, especially San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood.

"He started off healthy and one day something happened and it can happen that quick," Hood said.

The 12-year-old had a relapse of his cancer, and his left arm had to be amputated. Hood and Damon developed a special bond when Damon refused to let his situation get him down.

Instead, Damon was determined to get a bell for everyone to ring when they completed their chemotherapy.

"Every time I have something going on, the nurses and everything would do something cool for me, so I wanted to do something cool for them," Damon said.

With the help of firefighters from Fire Station 11, the bell was installed two months ago at University Hospital.

Ringing the bell not only means another person is free of cancer. Each ring also pays tribute to firefighters who have lost their lives to the disease.

After three years of courageously fighting, Damon stood with pride next to his heroes.

"I think he's got more impact on me, to be honest with you," Hood said. "I didn't expect him to ring this bell so quick, but when I got the news, it was like there was nothing more important on my calendar than to be here with him."

Now Damon is on to the next chapter, a fresh start as he steps away from those cancer days.