MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Exactly six months ago, a Northwest Miami-Dade family woke up to smoke filling their home and alarms sounding.
Five-year-old Tj Mack and his mother, 26-year-old Stevangela Lankford were trapped in a house fire.READ MORE: Nikolas Cruz Pleads Guilty In BSO Jail Guard Attack
Lankford died saving her son’s life.
After months of heartache and painful recovery, the City of Miami Police Department planned a day full of fun for Tj, calling it the “Chief Experience.”
The day started with a caravan of police officers picking up Tj at his home. Then, breakfast with the interim Chief, Manuel Morales. Soon after, Tj was up in a helicopter, then meeting SWAT team members and K9 Units.
TJ ended his day at the Miami Seaquarium, where he enjoyed being in a pool with dolphins.
“He loves police, firemen – that’s what he wants to be when he grows up. He loves cars. He’s just doing his thing. Today,” says Angel Lankford, Tj’s Grandmother.
It was a day filled with happiness and excitement. A day much different than just six months ago.
“My daughter. That’s her only child. That was her everything. She died saving her child. She’s a superhero,” says Lankford.READ MORE: The Return Of Art Basel Miami Beach Is Great News For Local Artists
Angel Lankford says her daughter’s last moments were spent protecting Tj.
“She tried to get out and go downstairs. She consumed so much smoke she passed out. The fire burned her.. 85% of her body and burned him 22% of his body,” she explains.
Throughout the day, Tj made sure his mom was with him.
“My mommy’s on my necklace,” says Tj Mack.
“It gives us a lot of joy to provide someone with some happiness. Tj has been through a very traumatic experience. We just want to try to make it a little bit better for him,” says Albert Guerra with the City of Miami Police Department Public Communications.
They did just that. Tj’s grandmother tells CBS4’s Ashley Dyer, for the first time in a while, he’s been able to be a little kid again and forget about his worries.
“It puts joy in my heart. It’s very enjoyable,” says Lankford.MORE NEWS: Feds Say Judge Should Toss Florida Gambling Law Challenge
If you want to help Tj’s family through this tough time they do have a GoFundMe page set up.