7-year-old recovering from rare strokes gets opportunity to drive historic steam train

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AKRON, Ohio — An Ohio mother matched the smile on her son’s face as he got the once in a lifetime opportunity to drive the 400-ton historic steam engine in Valley View on Monday.

Just a little over four months ago, Stephen Comer was nowhere near enjoying life as a typical 7-year-old boy should. He was strapped to a gurney in the helicopter on his way to the Cleveland Clinic after suffering a rare acute ischemic stroke, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

Comer was at a youth soccer game at the Tuscarawas County YMCA when things changed. He was sitting in his mother’s lap when he suffered a stroke.

After undergoing emergency surgery, he regained his speech and ability to walk.

Then a dream happened. After hearing about his love of trains, Fort Wayne Railroad Society donated a slot on the so-called “Throttle Time,” where donors can get a chance to blow the horn, ring the bell and control the throttle.

Joe Mazur, president and CEO of the scenic railroad, did everything he could to get Stephen on the train.

“Hearing the whistle is one thing,” he said. “Being inside of the engine is just unbelievable.”

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