Tyler’s most favorite thing in the world is trains. He loves trains and loves to talk about trains.
Tyler’s most favorite thing in the world is trains. He loves trains and loves to talk about trains. Diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of five, followed by surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy treatments while he was six, trains have been a constant conversation through it all.
So as his 7th birthday approached, he wished to have the ultimate train experience. Make-A-Wish® Eastern North Carolina teamed up with Amtrak to send this pint-sized train enthusiast on a whirlwind trip aboard the Silver Star as part of the 3,000th wish granted in its chapter history. The train traveled to Orlando over his birthday and included a two-day adventure at Universal Studios.
“The way everyone at Amtrak treated us was just amazing,” said Tyler’s dad, Justin, who is stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro. “When we arrived in Florida, the employees were waiting on us and had a big banner. A highlight for Tyler was definitely the Hogwarts Express train ride at Universal Studios. He was super excited to see it and ride on it.”
Once back in Raleigh, the surprises continued. Tyler was given a VIP tour of the “head end” engineer car with the train engineer. He even had the chance to blow the whistle. A crowd of Make-A-Wish volunteers and staff cheered and welcomed Tyler home. Even Tyler’s favorite doctor, Sridharan Gururangan, was on hand for the celebration.
Now back at school and enjoying first grade, Tyler’s constant talks about trains continue. When he recently received a Lionel toy train from a collector, Tyler said that it was just like the train that he rode on to Universal Studios.
“The whole trip was amazing. From start to finish, the Make-A-Wish volunteers and staff took care of everything and it was flawless. Everything was perfect. We couldn’t have asked for anything more,” said Justin.