Make-A-Wish sends pediatric cancer patient to Cuba

11-year-old cancer survivor meets 92-year-old great grandfather

HAVANA – Tyler Machado was allowed to make a wish. He could have asked for anything. But instead of a fast car or a meeting with his favorite rapper, he chose to visit his grandparents in Cuba. 

The Make-A-Wish foundation granted the 11-year-old non-Hodgkin lymphoma patient's dream. Taylor thought he was on his way to a doctor's visit in New Jersey when they surprised him with a red carpet and a limousine.

Tyler, a stage 2 cancer patient, remembers the surprise: "Once I saw the limo and the camera people, I was like 'oh no!' 

When Tyler arrived to Havana, he became the first child from the United States to visit the island with the help of the Make-A-Wish foundation since President Barack Obama lifted the travel ban. 

During his six-day trip, Tyler traveled to the small town of Caraballo, near Havana. He was in tears when he met his 92-year-old great grandfather Reynaldo Machado, who is visually impaired. 

Genesis Ramos, Tyler's mom, said she was not surprised to see her son's reaction.

"He has always wanted to meet his family here, see where he is from,"  Ramos said. 

Tyler has been working on his Spanish. His great grandfather, who doesn't speak English, gave him some life advise: "To have a girlfriend and have a baby, so I can continue the last name and then he said have 5 girlfriends."

The communications director for Make-A-Wish said the foundation is working on trips to Cuba for other children throughout the U.S.

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