BERLIN — Miguel Duran, 9, is terminally ill with rare cancer. When he got out of school Friday afternoon, Jan. 24, a fleet of semis greeted him.
“It was kinda cool that I get to ride in it,” said Duran. “I’ve never been in one!”
There was supposed to be just one truck showing up to take the 9-year-old for his first joy ride in a semi, but one turned into 50, and 50 turned into a seemingly endless line of semis across the street from the boy’s Berlin, Wisconsin school.
“We can’t do a lot, but we own trucks, so I was like, ‘Why not give him a ride in a semi,’ and it all just kinda blew up!” said Becky Retzlaff, organizer of Miguel’s Convoy.
Friday, Jan. 24 was the day Retzlaff met Miguel, but her son is friends with him. When her son came home from school to tell her the news about Miguel’s grim prognosis, she wanted to do something to put a smile on his face.
“This poor little boy, he doesn’t have much time, and be kind to people,” said Retzlaff. “You might not know their circumstances, and try to make people the happiest you can.”
Miguel’s Convoy was organized to show him the community cares — and he was shocked to see the droves of trucks, all for him.
“They mostly care more about me now, instead of other things,” said Duran.
“It means a lot to me that, being such a small community, that everybody can kinda, even just the trucking community, can come together to support one kid,” said Arlene Bialk, Miguel’s mom.
The 9-year-old boy was diagnosed with a rare and terminal form of cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma when he was 8 — but it’s events like this for her son that keep Bialk in good spirits.
“It just kinda, it keeps my mind off of it for at least a couple of minutes,” said Bialk.
On the outside, he’s your typical 9-year-old boy, but he’s a fighter, and after Friday, an official, honorary one.
“Seeing and heard his strength and bravery throughout this whole journey with this issue, we just wanted to make him an honorary fire department guy on our family,” said Tom Stahoviack, captain of they Poy Sippi Fire Department.
Special stickers were handed out to truckers at the end of the convoy to put on their trucks. That way, even in passing, Miguel will ride with them forever.