Child battling cancer to go on dream trip to Daytona 500

(WNCN Photo)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Twelve-year-old Howell Brown couldn’t wait to tackle the games at Dave and Buster’s.

“I just want to win a lot of tickets, I don’t care,” Howell said with a laugh.

Playing games is fun, but all the bells, whistles and lights can’t compete with Howell’s first love.

“My whole life I’ve been a NASCAR fan,” explained Howell.

And thanks to the Make a Wish Foundation, Howell will see his dream of being at the Daytona 500 become a reality.

“This is the biggest event he’s ever wanted to go to,” said Sue Brown, Howell’s mom. “He’s never been to Daytona so he’ll remember this for the rest of his life.”

When Howell was 9, doctors removed a stage-four tumor from his brain. Radiation and chemotherapy followed, but the cancer now has returned in his spine.

“He was doing fine and now the cancer has come back to his spine,” Brown said. “So we’re worried about that. He’s starting radiation and chemotherapy and we’re just hoping for the best.”

Cancer may have affected him physically but the disease is no match for Howell’s outlook on life. Now, a weekend of a lifetime awaits.

“I was thrilled, it’s cool,” gushed Howell. “There’s been a lot of history at that track, and hopefully I’ll get to see another driver get his name on the trophy.”

And Howell has a prediction for who that driver will be.

“Chase Elliott, because he’s never won a Daytona 500,” explained Howell.

The Daytona 500 pole sitter just so happens to be Howell’s favorite driver.

He’ll cheer for the young up-and-coming star in person.

“I like the noise,” said Howell. “Sometimes, I don’t wear headsets because I just love the rumble. They say more people go to the Daytona 500 than the Super Bowl.”

And among the more than 100,000 fans in attendance this year will be a 12-year-old boy seeing his wish come true.

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