Virginia 5-year-old lives cowboy dreams after incurable brain tumor diagnosis


SALEM, VA (WSLS) – Thousands of people came to the Salem Civic Center for the 49th Annual Stampede Rodeo Show.

Contestants from across the nation came to compete for national recognition in events including bull riding, barrel racing, calf roping, steer wrestling and saddle bronc riding.

“I never seen buck riding before it was pretty cool,” John Patterson who attended with his family said.

People who went said it was a great experience.

“It was really neat, they did the pledge of allegiance and they prayed,” Cindy Patterson said.

Others in the audience lived out their dreams.

A five year old was diagnosed with a brain tumor about a year ago, which causes him to have seizures.

The Craig family is overjoyed to see a smile on Carter Craig’s face.

They said being inside the bullpen was a nice break from the hospital.

Five year old Carter Craig looks like the average kid, he was dressed in a cowboy hat, boots and shiny belt buckle, and looked like a young rodeo fan, but Carter is fighting a battle, with a tumor inside his brain.

Carter got a tour of the Salem Rodeo, to take his mind of being in the hospital.

He met some rodeo clowns, got his hat signed by a some bull riding champs, and later rode a horse.

When Carter smiled, it warmed his parents hearts.

“It’s pretty special, it’s a pretty special day for them, it’s also really nice because our life started to revolve around hospitals and doctors every few weeks and this is a complete break from it” Michelle Craig, Carter’s mom  said.

Workers with Dreaming of Three Rodeo Kids Program teamed with Salem Rodeo Volunteers to Make Carter’s dreams come true.

“It feels pretty good, I like to stand back and watch, I’m not the one who tries to get in the camera or anything but listen to things like the point of his life is to be a cowboy when I hear that it’s just the best thing,”  Jacqueline Harris, with Dreaming of Three organization said.

Dreaming of Three invites families who have been affected by medical problems and shows them a night out with no worry.

Families receive behind the scene passes for the evening as well as being treated like part of the rodeo family, it’s something that Salem Rodeo staff says was no problem to accommodate.

“I don’t think words can describe the feeling of it its, its truly special when when you sit here tonight and hope that 20-30 years from now a young man like that will be around, but in the back of your mind, if nothing else we’ve given those parents a great memory,” Kevin Debunsk, with the Salem Rodeo said.

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