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Make-a-Wish Foundation Helps Sick Boy Be a Garbage Man

This Sick Little Boy's 1 Wish Came True — When He Got to Be a Garbage Man For the Day

For one sick little boy, his biggest wish isn't just to live life but to live the life of a garbage man.

As soon as a sparkling garbage truck — complete with his name on it — surprised Ethan at his elementary school, the first grader quickly changed into uniform and got to work. "His face just lit up when he saw the garbage truck," his mom, Erin Dean, told Today. "He couldn't believe it."

Despite suffering from a progressive disease, Ethan Dean knows exactly what he wants to do when he grows up: be a garbage man. The 6-year-old boy, who has cystic fibrosis, has spent his short life obsessed with garbage trucks, and since he has clearly identified his career goals, the Make-a-Wish Foundation made his dream into a reality.

Ethan's typical day involves receiving treatments in the morning and evening to try to clear his lungs, as well as taking enzymes to help him digest meals. But on this memorable day, Ethan wasn't different from his friends because of his illness, he was garbage man Sam's partner; helping to pick up trash throughout downtown Sacramento, CA.

"It meant that he could do something he loves to do but also forget, for a day, about all the things he has to do on daily basis to keep him healthy," Erin explained. "It gave him a little more fight in him to just try to get through all the treatments and things he has to do."

Ethan's epic day ended with a cheering crowd greeting him at the state capitol for a special event in his honor. "When he's been asking questions, you can see a sadness in him. He knows he can't change it," Erin added. "It was a good time for him to feel special and not to feel different from other people. . . . The support made him feel like he was on top of the world and he could conquer whatever was put in his path."

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