Firefighters bring cheer to sick children for ‘Lil’Bravest’ carnival at New Hyde Park hospital

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS -- Firefighters from Engine 84 and Ladder 34 in Washington Heights visited patients at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park for the “Lil’ Bravest” carnival.

The annual event allows firefighters to spend time with patients and their families, playing board games and carnival games.

“I was happy because they took the time out of their day to come and cheer us up,” said patient Zariah Hanson.

Kwana Lewis said the carnival was a wonderful surprise for her four-year-old daughter Madison, who was coming for treatment for sickle cell anemia.

“I can’t put into words how cute and how much I appreciate it,” said Mom Kwana Lewis. “They like to have things that make them feel better, to feel normal, aside from all the gloom that’s kind of in a hospital setting. She’s playing skee-ball and she’s having a good old time.”

The “Lil’ Bravest” carnival has been around for roughly a decade, created in memory of firefighters Rory O’Flaherty and John ‘Sully’ Sullivan, who both passed away in 2010.

“They were very passionate about being involved with kids,” said Captain Jim Coakley. “We thought this was a good thing to do to keep their memory alive.”

The members of Engine 84 and Ladder 34 also hosted “Lil’ Bravest” carnivals on Tuesday at Mount Sinai Hospital and Blythedale Children’s Hospital.

“We’re just here to bring a smile to the kids’ faces, give them a little sunshine in their day,” said firefighter Pete Loev. “They have a tough go.”