A 9-year-old girl has become an honorary firefighter as she bravely battles a rare form of cancer.
"She was dancing around saying, 'I'm an honorary firefighter!'" mom Robin Stout of O'Fallon, Missouri, told ABC News. "She was just skipping through the firehouse and was so excited. I was so overwhelmed by their kindness and love and the whole thing was completely amazing."
On May 15, 2014, Keira Stout was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of sarcoma. A tumor had developed behind Keira's right eye, severing her optic nerve and causing her to lose vision in that eye.
'I Feel Like Cinderella': Teen Attends Homecoming After Losing Everything in Fire
3-Year-Old Battling Cancer to be Sworn into FDNY as 'Junior Firefighter'
Teen Gives Opening Day Tickets to 13-Year-Old Battling Cancer
Keira underwent several rounds of chemotherapy but her cancer has since returned and is now in her bone marrow, pelvis and spine, her mother said.
"When things get really tough I'll ask her, 'Are you scared?' and she'll say, 'No, I'm not scared,'" Stout said. "She's just very positive and she's kind of an old soul in a tiny little body."
Through mutual friends, the Stouts developed a relationship with the firefighters of the O'Fallon Fire Protection District in September 2015.
Keira became particularly close to firefighter Tom Vogelgesang and even shaved his head during an event for the St. Baldrick's Foundation--a non-profit organization that raises funds to help find cures for children with cancer.
"They instantly became great friends," Stout said of Keira and Vogelgesang. "She does that. She kind of wiggles into people's hearts. She was like, 'That's my Mr. Tom now."
Tom Vogelgesang told ABC News that Brian Moore, assistant chief of the district, came up with the idea to hold a surprise ceremony and name Keira honorary firefighter.
"Everybody knew how Keira and I have been getting close," Vogelgesang said. "We have become friends, her parents and I, and it just seemed like the thing to do for her. It's just her resilience to bounce back. To see her be a child and to hear her talk about cancer and how you can fight it, it's just absolutely incredible."
With her family and a large crowd in attendance, Keira Stout was sworn into the O'Fallon Fire Protection District on Oct. 24.
She even received her own gear, badge and a personalized purple helmet that reads "Keira Strong."
"The first thing she said to me was, 'I can't believe you kept this a secret,'" Stout said of her daughter. "Then she kept asking me, 'Can I wear this to school?'"
On March 4, 2017, Keira and Vogelgesang will be shaving each other's heads during another event for the St. Baldrick's Foundation.
Keira's goal is to grow the hair back that she lost from radiation in time for the event.
"She said, 'I have to hurry up and finish [chemo] so my hair can grow back and he can shave my head too,'" Stout said. "I said, 'What happens if it doesn't?' She gets fixated on certain things and I didn't want her to get her hopes up but she said, 'That's OK, I'll just shave [Mr. Tom's] head then and anyone else who wants their head shaved."