‘It gives us a moment:’ Boy fighting rare disease gets unique train wish granted

Local News

ARCADE, N.Y. (WIVB) — Just as Chris Van Allsburg’s Polar Express taught us: All you have to do is believe. And although a recent Arcade and Attica Railroad train didn’t go all the way to the North Pole, it still allowed a young boy to believe in the magic of a wish to be a train conductor.

Bray Winters, 6, has loved trains ever since he could talk.

“He’s always on the go, very curious about how everything works,” Bray’s mom, Devon Winters said. “Being able to pull buttons and push gears and honk the horn.”

When Bray showed up to Arcade on the day his wish was coming true, Make-A-Wish WNY planned to give him a conductor suit, but he didn’t need it because he already had one. Being such a rail fanatic, he already owned a suit and hat that he put on for his big day. It was a day that started with a train ride to another station about an hour away. He embarked on that with his family and others, and while onboard, Bray helped stamp tickets and looked around in awe.

Then, after a pit-stop, his wish really came to life when the conductor invited him to the front of the train. As he stepped inside, his wandering, budging eyes showed his true amazement. When Bray sat down, he looked like a real natural. It was a special moment for everyone involved.

“I enjoy the job because of situations just like this, where we get to make a dream come true,” Conductor Patrick Connors said. “I can tell you in my time working here, I’ve never had a bad day, it’s always been fun and today is going to be a day I remember forever.”

Bray’s mom said the family tries to live life to the fullest right now… before life gets really tough.

Bray and his brother Bliss have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The disease, which mainly affects boys, causes severe degeneration and weakness.

“In time, he might need a wheelchair to help him live, (and) he might get heart conditions, lung conditions,” Devon said. “It was supposed to be early 20s… the lifespan… but now it’s looking like 50s and 60s, so there’s a little more hope every day.”

But on the day Bray had his wish come true, the family wasn’t thinking about any of that. Instead, Bray became solely focused on driving the train back to the depot.

“It’s a memory in the books for us,” Devon said. “It just gives us a moment.”

Bray’s brother Bliss will also get a wish granted to him by Make-a-Wish WNY, but he’s still deciding what he’d like to see come true.

Kelsey Anderson is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of her work here.

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