NEWINGTON, N.H. (NEWS CENTER) — A courageous 9-year-old from Portsmouth got to experience what it’s like to be a member of the New Hampshire Air National Guard.
The 157th Air Refueling Wing welcomed Ciara Brill onto the base Friday at Pease. Ciara was recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that has left her with an aggressive brain tumor.
She was given a hero’s welcome as she arrived at the base. The base commander called her as brave and strong as anyone who has served here. She then donned the guard uniform and was sworn in as an honorary member, pledging to uphold her position and carry out her mission.
In a day packed with duties, Ciara got to refueling jets ready for takeoff, she inspected another one from the inside and she learned all about the role of the base fire department. She was treated like a queen, but her rank on this day was general.
“This is just above and beyond anything we could have imagined they’d done for our daughter,” said her father, Harold Brill.
Ciara is coming off a rough stretch. She just finished up six weeks of treatment. This day was a bright spot for her.
“She’s been ear-to-ear smiles since we got here this morning," he dad said. "It’s been absolutely incredible."
This 9-year-old has been given a terminal diagnosis of nine months. Her parents are now trying to savor every moment they have with her. They have been able to take comfort in the support they have received. This day is just one of the many acts of kindness bestowed upon them by people throughout the community.
“It’s just amazing what everyone has done. For a perfect stranger, people we don’t know,” said her mother, Stacie Grassi.
After a short break, Ciara will go back to the hospital for clinic trials. Nothing has proven successful in beating her illness. The trials give her family they only thing they can hold on to, hope.
“There’s got to be a first time for everything, so that’s what we hold on to. It’s hard,” her mom said.
With this break, they’ll be taking Ciara someplace warm for something that she really wants to do. Dig her toes into the sand.
Coming up on March 26, the community will come together once again for Ciara and her family for a big fundraiser at Portsmouth High School.