Special Wish Foundation surprises Avon teen with a giant backyard train set

Posted at 12:50 AM, May 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-22 00:58:15-04

It is a backyard transformation months in the making. Dozens of volunteers here in Northeast Ohio, along with strangers in other states came together to give one local teen a reason to get outside.

Jack McBride spends a lot of time inside. That’s because there are trains in every room of his house.

His love of locomotives goes back to when he was 6-years-old.

"It started with Thomas the Train," said Michelle McBride, Jack’s mother.

Now 16, the Avon teen with special needs has giant train tracks running through his backyard.

"One of the first things he did was lay down on the ground right in front of the track and look at the train from down low. He made sure he got a close look," said McBride.

McBride got this project moving thanks to a friend who told her about Special Wish.

“She encouraged me to make a wish," said McBride.

The organization, that helps make dreams come true, contacted members of the Northern Ohio Garden Railroad Society.

"We had teams of people that came in and moved ground and brought stone in," said Ralph Boyer, Northern Ohio Garden Railroad Society.

In just one day, nearly 40 volunteers brought this train yard to life.

"This is just an extension of his love for trains," said McBride.

This effort goes well beyond Northeast Ohio, with a member of the Garden Railroad Society in Iowa donating the trains and power packs with another in Kansas providing the buildings.

Jack had no clue any of this was in the works.

"I was standing back there when jack came in and tears come to your eyes and that's what's gratifying," said Boyer.

Jack's mom tells News 5 this will get her son outside more during the summer and will give him more opportunities to be social.

"We're hoping people will come and visit jack and enjoy his new layout with him," said McBride.

A Special Wish Foundation grants wishes for children up to  20 years old who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening disorder.

The local chapter grants wishes for children in Lorain, Medina, Huron and Erie counties.