Pink fire truck surprises Burleson cancer patient

Val McNeal is at home because she is fighting for her life. She is a breast cancer survivor, now fighting the disease for a second time with chemotherapy.
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BURLESON, Texas -- The sound of sirens filled a neighborhood street in Burleson Tuesday morning.

Neighbors peeked out their windows and opened their doors, craning to see what was going on, but as a firetruck rolled down the street, it quickly became clear it was here for a different kind of rescue mission.

"I just thought it was another emergency vehicle in our neighborhood," said Val McNeal.

The bright pink firetruck rolled up in front of McNeal's house, lights and sirens blazing. Firefighters dressed in pink coats and hats came to her door with flowers. It was a celebration just for her, and she said it couldn't have come at better time.

"I really needed a boost, because you get kind of down sometimes when you're stuck at home all the time," she said.

McNeal is at home because she is fighting for her life. She is a breast cancer survivor, now fighting the disease for a second time with chemotherapy.

"It's metastasized, so that's where I am in my fight right now," she said. "But I'm going to keep fighting."

Her pep rally was organized by her care team at the Joan Katz Cancer Resource Center at Baylor Scott & White All Saints - Fort Worth. They invited the truck and crew from Pink Heals, an organization of volunteer first responders who make these kinds of stops across the country.

The trucks are retired fire engines, given a pink paint job and a new purpose.

"We just want to give them a little love and let them know people are thinking about them," said Leonard Ruthruff, a volunteer firefighter from Michigan who was behind the wheel today.

There were cheers and hugs and chance for McNeal to sign the firetruck.

"Never lose faith," she wrote.

This particular truck has only been in service for six months, but it is covered in signatures from other patients and family members touched by illness. After stopping in North Texas, it will continue on to Killeen and San Marcos.

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