Fire chief for a day

Since February it has been nothing but hospitals and doctors for 14-year-old Rian Christopher-Anderson of Crosby — but not on Saturday.

It was a day just for her as she was named honorary fire chief by Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue. Along with her title came a front seat spot on one of the department’s fire engines as it traveled the Crosby Days parade route. Department officials said she may very well be the first honorary fire chief they’ve had.

“This is just what she needed, a day she could forget about doctors,” said her mother, Melinda Christopher.

The last few months have not been easy for Christopher-Anderson as she was diagnosed in February with a spinal cord tumor. She recently spent three months in the hospital and completed 21 days of radiation, but her mother says she is not out of the woods yet.

“She’ll probably have to have surgery or chemotherapy, we just don’t know yet,” Christopher said.

She says the radiation shrunk her daughter’s tumor three-tenths of a centimeter, but after the radiation it grew back half a centimeter. But says doctors are performing a test on her that has only been around for a few months that will check the tumor’s molecular makeup.

“Hopefully it hasn’t turned malignant,” she said.

She adds that if her daughter does have to do chemotherapy, it’s a yearlong program, but has an 80 percent survival rate.

“We’re hoping she gets better, we just want her to get better,” Christopher said.

It was about two weeks ago when CKFR firefighters first met Christopher-Anderson. There was an emergency situation with her medicine and her mother had to call 911.

“(The firefighters) showed up and fell in love with her when they met her,” Christopher said. “They put this (fire chief honor) together in a week-and-a-half, they really turned it into a great deal. I’ve lived in Crosby my whole life, what a better place than her hometown, it really makes a small town pretty amazing.”

Despite the rough road that she has traveled so far, the cheerful 14-year-old was all smiles on Saturday.

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