Starlight Foundation fulfills SA boy’s dream of driving steam train after brain tumour

Not even a brain tumour could get in the way of Broly Blackmore’s dream of one day becoming a train driver.

Having the tumour removed when he was just four, the boy from Hallett, in South Australia’s mid-north, has endured more hardships than most.

Now seven, his dream has finally been realised with a trip on the Pichi Richi steam train from Quorn to Port Augusta, where he was designated “trainee train driver”.

“Ever since he was only a couple of months old everything has always been about trains … diesels aren’t as good as steam trains apparently,” his mother Corrine Maidment said.

Broly’s trip in early October was funded by the Starlight Foundation, which offered the wish-granting experience.

“He’s had the wish sitting there since he was in the hospital … but we wanted to wait until he was old enough to make a decision himself so he’d know what the wish was and he’d remember it,” she said.

The Pichi Richi is an outback steam train experience that has been running since 1973.

Ms Maidment said Broly barely slept the night before the journey.

“According to everyone in the train, they weren’t allowed to do anything without his say so … at one point, he told the fireman, the guy who does the coal, ‘That’s my seat. I need to sit there’,” Ms Maidment said.

“He was boss for the day.”

She said the experience only reinforced Broly’s dream of being a train driver.

“He keeps saying, ‘How do I get to be a train driver? I want to go back there and be a train driver’,” Ms Maidment said.

Broly’s medical journey
Broly was rushed to Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital by helicopter after he collapsed three years ago.

Doctors discovered he had a large tumour growing on his brain and told Ms Maidment if it was not removed that evening, he would not make it.

“It was pretty terrifying. He doesn’t really remember a lot of it during the time,” Ms Maidment said.

“The damage that got caused sort of caused the memory of that moment be erased, thankfully. So he’s not really scared about it.”

Three years on, Broly lives a relatively normal life but still requires trips to the physio and regular brain scans to make sure the brain tumour has not grown back.

He did not require chemotherapy, which made the post-surgery recovery quicker, Ms Maidment said.

In November, Starlight Foundation will run its Go Big Challenge, encouraging people to sign up to walk, run or roll a distance of their choice to raise money for sick kids.