Milo, an energetic 10-year-old, is passionate about trains, firetrucks, old cars – basically any kind of vehicle. “He loves being on the move and does joy rides on the MAX light rail with no destination – just goes,” said his dad.
Being on the move brings him joy and helps him forget about what he’s been through. Milo was born with a genetic metabolic disorder and got sick within a month of birth. Then at 3 months old, a stroke changed his life forever. By the time he was 3 years old, Milo needed a liver transplant. “Early on it was difficult because we didn’t know what was going on,” explained his dad. “Even day-to-day stuff was difficult.”
Even at such a young age, Milo was aware of what’s happening to his little body, and did his best to adjust to his new post-transplant life. Then volunteers Sarah and Melissa from Make-A-Wish Oregon came into his life and sparked something amazing – his sense of adventure.
“[The wish granters] were fantastic and patient, because Milo was happy to do anything, so they helped us work through all the logistics and turned Milo’s vague ideas into reality,” said his dad.
His idea was to go on an adventure that incorporated different travel elements. His adventure began with a plane ride to San Jose, California, where he visited Roaring Camp Railroads. There, Milo boarded a steam engine train that took him on winding narrow tracks, over trestles and through Redwoods to the Summit of Bear Mountain. Donning a train conductor hat and red bandana, Milo even toured the main engine room where Conductor Megan showed him how to operate an 1890 steam engine train.
As if this wasn’t enough excitement, Milo rode the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. In the evening, he strolled the wharf with his parents and grandparents, taking in the city lights and sound of the ocean.
“Milo had such a blast. He is still glowing and sharing all his stories with his teachers and classmates,” said his mom. “Every day was packed with activities he enjoyed.”
To finish out this adventure, Milo and his family drove to Crater Lake, Oregon. Captain Tim gave Milo a boat ride and Ranger Patrick showed him all the best places around the national park. He left with extra special souvenirs that included a pumice rock, a 2016 commemorative Crater Lake sticker and a stuffed animal squirrel.
Milo’s dad said the trip allowed the family to close the door on one chapter of Milo’s life and open the door to a new chapter – one filled with possibilities and adventure. “It broadened his horizons.” More importantly, his dad said the wish experience showed Milo the kindness of others - from the wish granters who helped him discover his wish to the flight crew and parks employees.
“Everywhere we went, people were incredibly kind and generous to Milo,” said his dad. “It made it super extra special.”