CALERA, Ala. (September 2019): It was all aboard for Jeremiah McCain and 25 of his closest family and friends during his wish at the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum. He’s fascinated with trains, and dreamed of driving one… he found his happiness full steam ahead. Kids Wish Network, a children’s charity that grants wishes for kids with life-threatening illnesses, put his locomotive dreams into motion with an extraordinary train adventure. Jeremiah has cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that causes damage to lungs, the digestive system and other organs. He is one of three siblings who all have the condition, so it was special for Kids Wish Network to work with his family again after previously celebrating Jeremiah’s older brother with his own wish.
After his family arrived at the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum, Jeremiah and his parents rode in a first generation diesel-electric locomotive alongside the engineer aboard the “Jeremiah Express.” His additional family and friends were hitched behind in a restored vintage railroad coach, taking a scenic journey through a portion of the former L&N Alabama Mineral Railroad. Jeremiah was thrilled “helping” the engineer run the train. “He thought he was seriously driving that train all day today,” said his mom Jennifer. “Seeing that adorable little smile, I know he was just soaking in every minute of it.” After the train ride, there was also a festive party with lunch provided by Sonic Drive-In, and a memorable visit to the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum exploring their extensive indoor and outdoor collections and exhibits. “My dream was to drive a train,” said Jeremiah. He just had one question for his mom, “Can we rewind and do it all again?”
“He hasn’t stopped grinning,” said his mom. “To hear him say it was the best day ever, it just makes my heart want to explode because I want him to feel that every day. Seeing the look on his face doing what he’s always wanted to do, and having it to look back on and smile about – it’s just phenomenal.”
Kids Wish Network Executive Director Tam Lai said, “It’s magical for a child to experience their life passion, and we’re so glad that Jeremiah could share his meaningful adventure with loved ones who support him during his ongoing challenges.”
Jeremiah’s engineer outfit and hats for all his guests were courtesy of Aeromax Toys. Wooden train whistle party favors were provided by Artist & Craftsman supply and Laurel Mercantile.
Kids Wish Network is a national charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children with life-threatening conditions and struggling with life-altering situations. KWN provides for trip expenses, meals, accommodations and additional spending monies to all wish families whenever traveling as applicable. Visit www.kidswishnetwork.org to learn about our different programs, and refer a child now.