8-year-old’s wish to join the Army is granted

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AUSTIN, Texas -- A Texas boy battling a rare disorder isn't letting it stop him from realizing his dreams.

His family, friends and soldiers gathered at Camp Mabry, just outside of Austin, to give him the surprise of his life.

Eight-year-old, Rowan Windham, is a survivor and this is a big weekend for the little soldier.

He was diagnosed with Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome syndrome, a rare disorder that does not allow his bone marrow to function correctly, and the National Guard is taking him in.

"It's devastating, when you find out that your child has something that you cannot fix, you're a bystander on the sideline," Rowan Windham mother said.

Since he was born, Rowan has spent over 2.5 years in the hospital, and is headed for Seattle in hopes of a bone marrow donor.

But before he does that, the Camp Mabry family wants to grant rowan his biggest wish, to be enlisted in the army.

"He actually enlisted himself on a piece of paper, a couple of years ago and said, 'I Rowan Windham join The Army for five dollars, he said he would pay the Army.’” Windham said.

Rowan said all he wants to do is help people and the U.S. Army will help him do that.

"I love to help others and help people," said Rowan.

At the end of the ceremony, General Ryan gave Rowan a Stetson and a pair of spurs, that general Ryan says recognizes his ability to move forward and think positively.

"I have an 8-year-old son and a 15-year-old daughter, so kind of the same family members. It's great to see Rowan be so strong and so independent in his current situation,” Ryan said.

Rowan's family say their faith is what keeps them strong, and despite his predicament, rowan continues to be a symbol of courage.

"Thank you and this is the best day of my entire life," Rowan said.