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Boy with months to live granted wish to travel on iconic Scottish train

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A five-year-old boy given months to live has been granted the wish of a lifetime after being sent on a special overnight trip on the iconic Caledonian Sleeper Train to Scotland.

Everett Walton was just three years old when he was diagnosed with a Medulloblastoma brain tumour in January 2023.

His parents, Joseph, 38, and Karen Fan, 40, were given even more heartbreaking news in October that there were no more curative treatment options for him.

Everett, who lives in London, was given a life expectancy of months, rather than years.

makeawish via Supplied

“Everett has been bombarded with non-stop difficulties”, his mum Karen said.

“He was diagnosed last January and then had a big operation. After this was a sequence of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

“He’s missed a lot of school because of his treatment, which really impacted him because he loves school. He’s also missed out on spending time with his friends.

“On top of this his brain tumour has affected him physically, so a lot of things that most five-year-olds do takes him a lot more effort to do.

“With his Hickman line in it was restrictive as he couldn’t swim, which he loves doing. He also found dressing changes extremely distressing. When he was going through treatment it was hard to travel.”

Everett was granted unique access to the train driver cabin. makeawish via Supplied

Following the devastating diagnosis, the Make-A-Wish foundation decided to offer train fanatic Everett the trip of a lifetime – an overnight trip on the Caledonian sleeper train from London Euston to Fort William.

Everett, who has been a “fan of trains all of his life” was given a private tour and welcomed into the train drivers cabin where he was shown all the buttons, and was even allowed to blow the train horn.

“He has all the train toys – we can’t get enough of them! Every time we go to the hospital, we bring his train and train track toys, they’re his go-to to cheer him up”, Karen explained.

“After a long period of being in hospital, we didn’t know how well he would cope going back into school, but the teachers got out the train tracks to make him feel better.

“The train trip was so much fun! The people from the Caledonian Sleeper Train met us at the platform and gave us a private tour where he got to sit in the driver’s seat and blow the train horn!

“The highlight of the trip has been the incredible scenery of the Highlands. Everett had the best time rolling around the hills and disrupting the peace with his excited squawking!”

“He’s had such a tough time – it’s been unimaginably hard for a five-year-old.

“There’s so little to look forward to, but his wish gave us something to get excited about. To find an excuse and to focus on him is so nice and his wish has made him feel so special after going through so much!”

Everett was diagnosed with a Medulloblastoma brain tumour in January 2023.makeawish via Supplied

The dream trip was allowed to happen after the Make-A-Wish foundation was awarded £900,000 from “generous” players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Jason Suckley, CEO of Make-A-Wish UK, said: “We’re delighted to receive this funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and this award marks a significant milestone for Make-A-Wish,”

“Sadly, the number of children who, like Everett, turn to Make-A-Wish UK with less a year to live is three times higher than it was in 2022.

“The demand for wishes is outpacing our best efforts to keep up so it’s taking us longer to grant wishes. But the reality is that many families simply can’t wait this long. Wishes have the power to rescue the magic of childhood, providing an escape from the grueling daily reality of ongoing treatments and endless hospital stays.

“The funds raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and awarded by the Postcode Care Trust will help us to grant more wishes for families and provide strength during their toughest times. We’re incredibly grateful for their support.”

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