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“I wish to be a freight train driver”
5 years old, Oxfordshire
Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma
After his love for his toy freight trains and bin lorries helped him through his cancer treatment, five-year-old Josiah’s wish to be a freight train driver allowed him to fully immerse himself into the world of trains. Finally, Josiah was able to emerge from the dark tunnel of childhood cancer and experience the light and joy of commanding his own freight train, which was fittingly named ‘Josiah’s wish’.
In January of 2022, when Mum Emma and dad Francis noticed that the right side of Josiah’s neck was swollen, took him straight to the GP. After many tests and finally a biopsy they were told something that no parent wishes to discover: their five-year-old son had a rare form of cancer, lymphocyte predominant non Hodgkins lymphoma. The 200 diagnoses a year is enough to highlight the rarity of LPNHL. However, with only 20 of these diagnoses being children, Josiah’s parents were overwhelmed with fear. Emma explained that "the fact the cancer was rare made it even worse". The impact of the diagnosis was felt by the whole family. "We were in the process of moving to Australia for dad’s work- but this had to stop due to Josiah’s diagnosis" said Emma.
As mum Emma explained, "when you’re going through hell, you have to keep going". After experiencing the unimaginable, watching their child go through four rounds of intense chemotherapy which resulted in hair loss and nausea for Josiah, an MRI revealed that Josiah was cancer free. Josiah is a bubbly boy who is back in school and full of beans. Throughout his experience with childhood cancer Josiah’s fixation with freight trains has remained. In the words of mum Emma he’s "completely obsessed with trains!"
Josiah’s love for trains started at a young age. Like most young children, at the age of two Josiah started watching Thomas the Tank Engine, sparking his admiration for trains. "He’s very smart, he even teaches me about trains" said Emma "his mind is very mathematically, and engineering orientated". Even at the age of five, Josiah has a strong interest in the world of engineering and is always curious to figure out how trains and engines work.
This is why Josiah’s wish mattered so much to him: as he operated his very own freight train, he was able to immerse himself into the world of rail transportation. Despite undergoing countless blood tests and MRI scans, mum Emma explained that Josiah was "incredibly brave, he didn’t complain once- his wish was a great way to say well done".
Josiah was thrilled to be a freight train driver for a day. "He was super excited" said mum Emma "He was reading up on all the train parts and preparing questions for the engineers".
Josiah’s excitement never faded throughout the day- and nor did his radiant smile. His excitement was shared by the whole family, with little sister Beatrice and brother Henry tagging along for a ride on Josiah’s freight train. But in the words of mum Emma, the best part of the wish for the family was "seeing Josiah Happy".
The impact of Josiah's wish
As Josiah’s smile beams from ear to ear, it's clear that his wish has truly created a wealth of positive memories. As Emma explained, "we hope that rather than remembering his cancer treatment, he’ll remember his wish from this point in his life".
The wish offered the Woods family a beacon of happiness, one that was urgently needed after seeing young Josiah undergo intense cancer treatments. "You have to find joy in the darkness" said Emma, "we couldn’t have done this by ourselves, so we’re incredibly grateful to G&W Freightliner and Make-A-Wish."
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