In 2011 Jacob (Jake) Knight, was 15 years old, and battling Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), when he had his one true wish granted by Make-A-Wish NZ.
Jake’s wish was to meet the New York Fire Service at the 10 year memorial of the 9/11 attack. Since he was 4 years old, Jake’s ambition was to be a firefighter, after members of the local fire department came to visit his kindy, he was hooked. As a teenager, Jake worked weekend shifts at the New Brighton Fire Station.
When Jake was in treatment and spending months in hospital, he watched the 9/11 documentary by French film makers Jules & Gédéon Naudet, over and over, impressed by the courage and bravery of the first responders led by Chief Pfeifer, who became his hero.
For Jake’s wish he travelled with his mum Amanda from his home in Christchurch to New York on 8 September 2011. Jake was sworn in as an Honorary Firefighter of the FDNY at an official ceremony at their headquarters in Brooklyn. At this event he met his hero, Chief Pfeifer.
Jake also visited the fire house that the 9/11 documentary film makers were originally following (Engine 7, Ladder 1, Battilion 1) in downtown Manhattan. He was all geared up and taken in the bucket of the tower ladder truck (Ladder 1), shown how to use it, and taken on a ride too!
Since his wish, Jake has kept in contact with Chief Pfeifer and all the other FDNY firefighters involved in his visit and says reuniting with them is “just like catching up again with good friends”.
In March 2019, Jake, now 23 years old, reunited with Chief Pfiefer and the crew with a visit to the downtown Manhatten station once again. Watch this touching reunion story in the video link below.
Currently, Jake is close to achieving his dream to be a firefighter with the FDNY. Jake now resides in Canada working as a part-time firefighter, and sat the FDNY test in September 2017 to achieve a list number. He is currently working towards gaining residency and citizenship to the United States so that he can achieve his dream to join the FDNY in the near future.