THORNTON – Members of the Brighton, Commerce City and Thornton police departments were on hand at Thimmig Elementary School Nov. 3.
Students from all three 27J Schools’ high schools – Riverdale Ridge, Brighton and Prairie View – lined Thimmig’s hallways. So did members of Prairie View’s band.
Outside waiting their turn in the celebration were an ambulance crew, the South Adams County Fire Department, two school mascots, 27J School District administrators and a 27J Schools board of education member.
And a lot of Dorian Hernandez’s classmates and friends, many of whom he sees in the hallway as he rolls by in his wheelchair. They were in the halls at first, then crowded into the school gym.
Hernandez. a second-grader at Henderson's Thimmig Elementary, suffers from leukodystrophy, a genetic disease affecting the tissue that bundles nerve fibers connected to nerve cells in the central nervous system. A statement from 27J Schools said the 7-year-old has “already outlived his doctors’ estimated life expectancy.”
He’s also a big fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League and, perhaps, a bigger fan of the Bucs quarterback, Tom Brady.
Dream On 3, an organization that grants sports-related wishes to youngsters with life-altering conditions, nominated Hernandez and his family for a special trip over the weekend. It included a limo ride to the Gaylord Hotel near Denver International Airport and a trip to Tampa Bay, Florida, over the weekend. It included a chance to go to a Bucs’ practice and to go to the Bucs’ game against the Los Angeles Rams Nov. 6.
Dream On 3’s Noelle Colligan presented Dorian with his own Tampa Bay jersey and his own number, 22.
School Principal Cindy Ritter read a number of tributes from Hernandez’s classmates.
“You’re kind. You’re funny. You have soft hair. You’re good at basketball,” she read. “You’re a big fan of Tom Brady. You care about people. You’re aware of other people and of students’ needs.
“You have an infectious laugh.”
“He’s a rock star at school every day,” said Hernandez’ mother, Andrea. “It’s amazing to have such a wonderful school that loves and supports him. It’s great. He’s always liked football. He’s always loved Tom Brady. We record games, and we play them for him.”
‘Soaking it in’
Young Dorian didn’t go on the weekend trip without some prep work ahead of time.
“He does understand what he’s about to do. We’ve been reading books about the stadium (Raymond James Stadium),” Andrea Hernandez said. “He knows that he’s going to get to go to the stadium and watch them play. He’s soaking it in.”
Once the assembled parents and press got their pictures, it was time for Hernandez and his family to head for the limo ride to the hotel and the beginning of his weekend. The limo left the school parking lot with an escort of police department motorcycle officers and squad cars, plus the South Adams County Fire Department.
“When we learned about your adventure, we couldn’t contain our excitement for you,” Ritter said. “We knew that you were truly deserving of this privilege.”
“It was so overwhelming. But overwhelming with happiness,” said Andrea Hernandez. “It was amazing that everyone came out here for him.”
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