SCHERERVILLE | It was a special morning for 3-year-old Adler Shelbourne, who is battling cancer, as he received promised train and firetruck rides.
Adler and his family traveled from their Griffith home to Lake Hills Fire Department in a party bus donated by Star Limousine. Adler called it a “school bus.”
Next they were treated to a ride on the Canadian National Railroad’s "Little Obie" train with music playing and bubbles rising from the smokestack.
Adler said “ooh” when he saw the bubbles.
Adler was apprehensive but soon relaxed and waved at everyone he passed while riding the train, said his father, Jason Shelbourne.
“I think this was great — everything they put together,” Shelbourne said. “He really enjoyed the train ride a lot. He gets really tired with his chemo and this was something special.”
Adler was guest of honor at the Indiana Rail Safety Week kick-off Sunday at the Lake Hills Fire Department.
Adler also was treated to a firetruck ride, with lights and sirens blaring, and a fire station tour.
Family and friends wore colorful tie-dyed shirts that read “Adler Our Little Engine” on the front and promoted the Prayers for Adler Shelbourne Facebook page on the back. Alder’s mother, Stephanie, posts updates on his treatments, condition and fundraisers on the page.
CN police Officer Eric Graf, who organized the event with his wife, Chris, a Lake Hills firefighter, said honoring Adler was a continuation of a Jan. 29 parade for the boy in front of his home.
“We gathered our resources and looked to get some help for Adler,” Graf said. “What started off as a plan to decorate his hospital room developed into much more. We built a relationship with the family.”
In January, Graf said Adler was promised a ride on "Little Obie," a tour of the Lake Hills Fire Department and a firetruck ride.
“For us, this is promises kept,” Graf said.
Adler was given a train set, a Lake Hills Fire Department blanket decorated with pictures of real firetrucks, a photograph of all the January parade participants holding up the Prayers for Adler sign, and a framed collage of patches from area police and fire departments with “Adler Our Hero” inscribed in the middle.
“We wouldn’t feel like a railroad if we didn’t give him another train set to add to his collection,” Graf said.
Before Adler starts his next round of chemotherapy for a malignant brain tumor, his father said the family of four is being treated by the Make-A-Wish Foundation to a trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Shelbourne said the family will be provided a limousine ride to the airport, stay in the park and be given vouchers for food and spending money.
“He knows Mickey (Mouse) because when he watches Thomas (the Tank Engine) movies,” Shelbourne said. “Before the movie starts, they always show the Walt Disney castle,” Shelbourne said.