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Jake Amarualik rides the CP mini train - 20 Aug 2017 Patrick Doyle.
21 August 2017
Inuk Boy Gets Special Train Ride


Ottawa Ontario - Jake Amarualik had just one wish.
 
And when he stepped off the CP Canada 150 train in a miniature conductor's outfit Sunday afternoon and nearly jumped onto the platform, he managed to make two come true.
 
"We made it!" he yelled.
 
The five-year-old Inuk boy, who has acute lymphoblastic leukemia, had been away from his grandparents who live in Resolute Bay, Nunavut, for two-and-a-half years while he was getting treatment at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario.
 
So the request to the Children's Wish Foundation was simple, really, he just wanted to see them.
 
"It was amazing," said Leanne Brown, regional director for Children's Wish.
 
"When we heard this one, it was just such a touching wish."
 
The selfless wish, made in the name of family and togetherness made headlines and a local Canadian Pacific engineer and conductor saw the story.
 
A former classmate happened to send the story Sean Orr's way, remarking how sweet it was that this little boy just wanted to see his grandparents.
 
Orr read it, but not closely.
 
Orr credits his wife who noticed that Jake also hoped to meet a conductor and get on a train.
 
Orr got on the phone with hopes that he could get Jake on the Canada 150 train.
 
And that, with the help of CP, he did.
 
Together, in matching outfits, Orr and Jake rode the rails Sunday from Smiths Falls to Ottawa, with Jake blowing the horn and touring every car.
 
"He's a strong little kid," Orr said.
 
"He's just full of energy."
 
Jake's grandparents, Peter and Nancy Amarualik, who flew in for the week, marked their very first time on a train, too.
 
The boy's wish came as a surprise to his mother.
 
"I was really happy. He surprised us. Our family is close. I was surprised and very proud of him that he still has a connection to his grandparents and wished to see them," Sheeba Nagmalik said.
 
When his grandparents arrived at the Ottawa International Airport, Jake could see them coming down the escalator into the baggage claim area.
 
He started trying to run up the escalator to see them and hug them.
 
Jake was diagnosed with cancer when he was just three.
 
Since leaving Nunavut, his family has lived in hotels and Ronald McDonald house while he's being treated.
 
"Our first year was really hard, because when things like this happen, families stay together, but being so far away from our family up in the North, Jake's dad and I had ups and downs," Nagmalik said.
 
"But the hardships made us stronger, too."
 
Now, they have just one more year until Jake's treatment is complete in August 2018.
 
Nagmalik says it pales in comparison to the tough times they've gone through as a family.
 
For Orr, "it all comes home," too, he said.
 
His own twins were born at 30 weeks and spent a month at CHEO.
 
His son Eli, now 3, weighed two pounds when he was born and weighed just 17 pounds up until a year ago when doctors fitted him with a feeding tube.
 
Recalling it Sunday, Orr was brought to tears.
 
He was happy to make things just a little bit brighter for Jake and his family.
 
On Saturday, the Amarualiks took family portraits in Confederation Park.
 
They'll head to Funhaven and Calypso Water Park before Peter and Nancy fly back to Nunavut on 25 Aug 2017.
 
Jake, who's doing well under treatment, will start school in Ottawa this September.
 
Shaamini Yogaretnam.

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