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Boy's big bucket list adventure

JO BELWORTHY AND PETRICE TARRANT
Last updated 05:00 13/02/2013
Sam Rowland
PETRICE TARRANT
BOISTEROUS BOY: Not many four-year-olds get a specially organised ride in a fire truck escorted by a police car but little Sam Rowland is not your average boy.

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Little Sam Rowland has ticked off the first of his bucket list adventures.

The four-year-old has a syrinx cyst on the spinal cord and had the ride of his life when Dargaville Fire Brigade members picked him up for a cruise through town in their truck.

Sam was accompanied by a police escort and thought he was the bees knees.

The little live wire couldn't stop saying "wow" as he clambered up the steps and peered at the rest of the world through the window.

Sam's mum Rachel says he was fascinated by the view.

"When he's got his finger in his mouth it means he's saying ‘this is just so cool I can't believe it'," she says.

All four passengers including Sam's baby sister Alyssa and his carer Debbie Bell, experienced their first fire engine ride.

Mrs Rowland says it took one phone call to organise what is now an unforgettable memory for the whole family.

Six-year-old sister Jessica, who has cerebral palsy, rode in the police car alongside the kids' dad Wayne so they could "wave at Sammy", Mrs Rowland says.

Mrs Rowland says they drew up a bucket list on what they think Sam likes.

"He can't speak, he can only do sign language," she says.

Sam has a few more exciting adventures to look forward to, including a swim with the dolphins and a trip to Australia.

His mum is also hoping to score him a ride in a helicopter.

"We haven't got there yet - we don't know anyone with a helicopter."

Sam was due for an MRI scan this week to see if surgery in October had relieved the pressure on his spinal cord.

The operation removed part of the back of his skull and two vertebrae and was necessary so he could continue to feel his arms and legs.

Mrs Rowland says the cyst can't be removed, so they just need to monitor his condition very closely.

His prognosis "is not looking good" she says.

"All we have is hope, we just hope the surgery has worked and that it will buy some time."

The Rowland family would like to "sincerely thank" the Dargaville Fire Brigade and police for what they achieved for their little boy.

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