A 7-year old from Henderson, Colorado, just returned from the trip of a lifetime, and we have the pictures to prove it.
To my fellow Broncos fans, this is a good time to put aside your differences and cheer for Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because the one thing Dorian Hernandez wanted to do — his biggest wish in the world — was to see the team in Tampa. The nonprofit Dream on 3 made that happen.
We first introduced you to Dorian when the second grader was getting a grand send-off from his classmates at Thimmig Elementary School. The entire school body waved signs and shook pompoms to cheer on Dorian and his family as they began their great adventure.
Dorian is a boy of few words, but his smile really says it all. He has a rare form of leukodystrophy, a genetic disorder that affects the brain and can cause problems with speech, movement, vision, hearing and balance.
Dorian is in a wheelchair and, more than anything, loves to play and watch sports, which brings us to the Buccaneers, his favorite team.
Dorian was nominated by the Special Olympics to Dream on 3 to have his dream trip come to life. That send-off from school was just the beginning.
“It just was really an amazing trip all around,” said Dorian’s mom, Andria Hernandez.
And was it ever! Dorian and his family took a limo from Thimmig Elementary to the Gaylord Hotel.
“When we arrived at the Gaylord Rockies, the whole entire staff was waiting for us, waiting to meet Dorian, and they were just so lovely. And we got to stay in the penthouse. Then they even made a cake, a special Tom Brady cake, for Dorian. So they were just so, so nice," said Andria.
Dorian was on his way to see his dream team, and the team did not disappoint.
“We got to tour the training facility. We didn't know for sure Tom was going to be there or if we were going to meet him. But as we got to the field, we could see the team come out, and then we could recognize that Tom was there," Andria said. "And then he came up to us and he started talking to Dorian, he talked to me, and then my daughter and my youngest. He had, like, a conversation with us, and then they would call him over. So he'd be like, 'I'll be right back.' And then he would go back to the field and finish his play, and then come back and finish talking with us. And then he tossed the ball to Dorian and then played catch with my youngest son.”
“He was so nice, so relaxed. And it was really amazing," Dorian's mom continued.
What it is about the Buccaneers and Tom Brady that have captured the attention of a little boy from Colorado?
Andria explained they are big Broncos fans, “but Dorian just since he was a little boy just always enjoyed watching football. And then he just always wanted to watch Tom Brady. So my parents would record games, we'd watch YouTube games. So that just really is where it came from.”
When you see the smile spread across Dorian’s face as his mom recounts the trip, that is something we can all get behind when we know all of this is Dorian’s dream come true.
“It really is. Especially as Dorian is getting bigger, it's harder to travel with him in an airplane. So that just makes it even more magical for me as a mother because I don't know how many more trips I'll be able to take with him," Andria said.