Ever since he was really little, Leo has been fascinated by garbage and recycling trucks. He and his mother, Shannon, would take the dog for morning walks along the same route as the trucks, and Leo would be entranced. “He really loved watching the bins dump,” Shannon says. “The prongs, the whole mechanism of it … And the noise, probably.” Leo can mimic the sound of a truck in action with entertaining accuracy. So they watch every week.

One Friday, the truck driver got out to adjust something, and Leo asked his name. So now they wait for Curtis. Leo waves and Curtis honks the horn. Then, a few weeks ago, Leo suggested it would be cool if he got to be the garbage collector and kids would wave to him while they were having their morning picnic. “He thought it would be so cool if he got to be the driver and the kiddos would get to see him,” Shannon says.On Monday morning, Leo’s wish came true. Leo is a wish recipient from Make-A-Wish Idaho.

“When he was just over 2 (years old), he started having dizzy spells, so that kind of led us to a couple different specialists, which led us to an MRI, which led us to his diagnosis, which was … brain cancer,” Shannon says. He finished nine months of chemotherapy in April, and he passed his first three-month MRI cancer-free. “The first year is the trickiest,” says Leo’s father, Brian Martin, because that’s when the chance of recurrence is highest. “So it’s just a hoping and waiting game right now.” Leo’s particular cancer is unusual enough that the Martins will be holding their breath every three months. But one of the things that got Leo through his time in the hospital was the gift of a garbage truck.

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Author: Katherine Jones, Idaho Statesman
Katherine Jones, Idaho Statesman