When Reid Martin was asked to what he would most like to do in the whole wide world, the 5-year-old came up with a simple list.
Go to the park.
Ride a ferris wheel.
See Mickey Mouse.
The folks at Make-A-Wish, along with Reid's parents, Tiffany and James Martin, zoomed in on how to craft that into a reality.
A trip to Disney World.
And on Tuesday night, a "wish granting party" was held at Logan's Roadhouse, with the announcement that the family would receive a week-long trip to the popular destination.
About 50 people showed up for the occasion, including members of the Goldsboro Fire Department, and held several presentations for the lad and his family.
Aubry Vonck, a volunteer with Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina, arrived carrying balloons and a cake donated by Harris Teeter. She also came bearing a box of toys from PJ Masks featuring Reid's favorite character, "Cat Boy."
She handed Tiffany Martin a folder brimming with information on the itinerary for the Disney trip, which will also be enjoyed by Reid's older brother, Josiah, 12.
The restaurant also offered more than a venue for the gathering. In addition to providing complimentary meals for the Martin family and free appetizers for the crowd, Sloan Burnette, a manager, said the business purchased a bookbag, filled it with candy and a $25 gift card and gave a Mickey Mouse stuffed toy to Reid.
Meanwhile, the guest of honor, decked out in a Captain America mask and shield, was oblivious to much of the proceedings, nodding off after enjoying a plate of macaroni and cheese.
To be expected ---- he was just released from Duke Children's Hospital earlier in the day.
This has been an admittedly tough year for the boy, diagnosed in late January 2017, with a brain tumor and spending the bulk of the time since undergoing surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
He almost required another operation over the holidays when he began feeling ill, but that didn't prove to be the case, his mother said.
"They thought maybe the shunt in his head wasn't working and they would have to revise it," she said. "They were able to manually pull fluid off of it so he did not have to do surgery."
Reid might not have understood the enormity of the occasion, and the excitement of the impending trip, but Tiffany took it all in stride.
"We're really excited and just wanting to do this. We want to give something back to Reid because it's been a really tough road," she said.
The efforts to create a "forever memory" for the family began more than a month ago, Vonck said.
And even though the family recently moved to Fayetteville, it was fitting that the Make-A-Wish event be held in Tiffany's hometown, surrounded by the family, friends and prayer warriors who have supported her throughout the journey.
"For me, it's something that is really bittersweet," Tiffany said of the occasion. "It's one of those things ---- you're happy and glad for something like an opportunity to do this but, on the other hand, it's bitter because your child has been diagnosed as terminal and knowing that this might be his big adventure and he might not be able to experience something of his nature.
"I wish we could have planned this under different circumstances."
That sentiment was felt by those in the crowd, which included Tiffany's church family from The Lord's Table.
Pastor Ken Jefferson Jr. and his wife, Phyllis, recalled meeting the boys in the children and youth programs and getting to know their mother, who have become like members of their family.
"It's been amazing, good and bad," Jefferson said. "Good in the way that they have come through it and sometimes amazing, the roller coaster they have been on.
"They'll say that the church has been inspiring to them. But probably not as much as they have been to everybody else."
Phyllis praised the resilience of Tiffany Martin, who continued to volunteer with children's ministries at the church, even throughout her own difficult circumstances.
Veronica Brown of Goldsboro, Tiffany's sister, expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support.
"This means the world to my sister, our family," she said. "It's easy to say, 'I'm praying for you' or 'I know how you feel' but when they come and show up, that just makes it better, like we're not alone.
"You feel like you have an army around you, even though nobody wants to go through it. You find strength."
Tiffany also expressed her appreciation for the support -- from the fire department, which had made her younger son an honorary fireman and allowed him to ride in the recent Christmas parade, to family and classmates she had not seen in awhile. And to her church.
"These guys have been a huge support for me and Reid and Josiah throughout the entire year while dad was not here (on military assignment)," she said, citing the "first lady and pastor" for taking them in "as one of their own."
As her son slept in his father's arms nearby, she praised Reid as a "phenomenal fighter" in the battle for his life this past year.
"This kid has gone through so much. He's gone through more than most adults will see," she said. "He's my inspiration for keeping this family going."
She reflected on the many nights when he would doze off and she would cry herself to sleep, only to be reminded that she was not alone. A text from a random church member or family member would bolster her faith and provide respite, albeit briefly.
"Those were the things that got me through," she said. "And so this trip that we're about to take is bittersweet.
"You want to go to Disney -- everybody wants to go to Disney -- but at the same time, under these circumstances, we're going to make this the best trip that we can make it."
And then, she acknowledged the One she has leaned on most throughout the ordeal -- God.
"Without God, I wouldn't be standing here today. There's no way I would have been able to make it through this year without God," she said, adding, "This (trip) is something that we're going to cherish for the rest of our lives."
Editor's note: The family was scheduled to fly out of Raleigh on Thursday for the week-long trip. That morning, Reid's health took a turn and required him to be hospitalized. As of presstime, he was in