Seven-year-old Make-A-Wish kid Carson reacts with shock as he gets an opportunity to use some of the gear inside an Everett Fire ambulance during a surprise Make-A-Wish sendoff Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, at Thornton A. Sullivan Park in Everett, Washington. Dozens of first responders, family and community members rallied together to lift up Carson before he and his family head off to Disneyland. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Seven-year-old Make-A-Wish kid Carson reacts with shock as he gets an opportunity to use some of the gear inside an Everett Fire ambulance during a surprise Make-A-Wish sendoff Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, at Thornton A. Sullivan Park in Everett, Washington. Dozens of first responders, family and community members rallied together to lift up Carson before he and his family head off to Disneyland. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

At Everett park, Make-A-Wish surprises boy, 7, on way to Disneyland

Carson was diagnosed with leukemia age 4. On Saturday, firefighters, police and cheerleaders rallied for him.

EVERETT — On a rainy Saturday morning, a second grader pulled into Thornton A. Sullivan Park with his parents, unaware it was just a pit stop on the 16-hour drive to Disneyland.

Doctors diagnosed Carson, 7, with leukemia at age 4. As a mega fan of the movie “Cars,” a movie he’d watch in the hospital with his mom, he had a dream to go to the theme park in Anaheim. The Make-A-Wish Foundation, a nonprofit that fulfills the wishes of children with critical illnesses, made his dreams come true.

Carson’s mom Amey Leach said her son did not know what to expect on their trip, but was “so excited to see everything.”

“Kids don’t have very much agency, and then when they get sick, the really lose their independence,” said Melissa Arias, CEO of Make-A-Wish Washington and Alaska. “A wish puts that back in their hands.”

The family pulled into the Everett park to be surprised by police officers, firefighters, local mascots, Everett High School cheerleaders and family friends. All waved homemade signs to wish Carson safe travels to the happiest place on earth.

Leach says her son is a “boy’s boy” who loves cars, hockey and wrestling. She had a suspicion the wish-granters were up to something that morning.

“I knew there was going to be something crazy, but I wasn’t expecting something this big,” Leech said. “It’s honestly heartwarming and tear-inducing, so I have to not cry. It’s amazing, to see that the community does come together.”

Make-A-Wish wish-granters James Muramoto and Jessica Pal spent the last year hanging out with Carson, going to hockey games, playing games and getting to know him.

“Trying to get everybody together is incredible,” Muramoto said. “This is what a wish is about.”

Everett patrol cars lined the gravel road with their lights flashing. At the end of trail, Everett firefighters sat at on top of their truck holding signs: “Put the fire out on leukemia!”

With the help of the engine crew, Carson hopped into the front seat of the big red truck. A firefighter placed a red helmet on the boy’s head. Carson skipped around the lot, jumping into the different patrol cars.

As a final surprise, Carson got in the front seat of a red Ferrari and a Corvette — both set to look like Lightning McQueen, the stock car protagonist of the “Cars” movies.

Carson and his parents then got back into their car and made their way to California.

The Washington and Alaska branch of the foundation has granted over 8,700 wishes since its inception in 1980s, Arias said.

“For Make-A-Wish, it’s so community driven,” Mueller said. “It’s really showing these kids who are diagnosed with critical illnesses that they are supported and cared about. I think moments of this give them that hope and joy and little sprinkles of happiness.”

Make-A-Wish Washington and Alaska are accepting volunteers.

Correction: Everett High School cheerleaders waved homemade signs to wish Carson, 7, safe travels to Disneyland. A previous article misstated the name of the school.

Maya Tizon: 425-339-3434; maya.tizon@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @mayatizon.

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