8-year-old transplant recipient receives hero's welcome from D.C. firefighters

Hunter Scarborough, 8, takes picture with D.C. firefighters, Friday, Dec. 30, 2016 (ABC7 photo)

Hunter Scarborough and his mother are spending the holidays in the hospital, more than 1,100 miles from home.

At eight years old, Hunter has big dreams of one day becoming a firefighter. He’s from Fordoche, Louisiana, but he arrived in Washington, D.C. on November 8 after being chosen by the transplant team at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

"Having an intestinal transplant is one of the biggest surgeries that we do here," said Jessica Uze, a child life specialist at the hospital.

Hunter underwent a small and large bowel transplant on November 9. He has been battling chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction since birth. His mom said he’s undergone hundreds of surgeries because of the rare disorder.

"He's had doctors and nurses do a ton of stuff, but he's been super brave throughout all of it," Uze said, referring to his time in D.C.

Hunter has developed a strong bond with his local fire department back home. The fire chief in Fordoce reached out to DC Fire & EMS, letting them know Hunter was undergoing long-term care in the district. Chief Dale Bergeron asked if FEMS could stop by to pay him a visit.

Hunter received a hero’s welcome Friday afternoon as he was wheeled out of the hospital with firefighters lining the sidewalk. The firefighters clapped and gave Hunter a high five before showing him a firetruck parked outside the hospital.

"Hunter, can you be an honorary member of the DC Fire Department,” asked Battalion Fire Chief David McLain, as he put a fire helmet on Hunter’s head.

“I think this it is very uplifting for him that he gets to meet guys that are not from his hometown, but from Washington D.C., and to let him know we all care about his well-being," McLain said. “We enjoy doing it.”

Hunter was able to ask the firefighters questions, and he received a bag of goodies, which included a coloring book and crayons.

“It’s awesome,” Hunter said.

Hunter is now forming another special bond with his now local department. He'll be in D.C. for a few more months, but he has an open invitation.

"When you get much better, and we know you will, will you visit one of our firehouses?” McLain asked.

“Yes!” Hunter replied.

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