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Train Charity Delivering Smiles For Sick Kids

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jason Allen
Jason came to North Texas after working as a reporter for four y...
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The metal stand was six-feet tall, loaded with monitors, tubing and IV bags.

It still didn’t stand a chance at holding back the three-year-old it was attached to.

With wide eyes and a big grin, John Mark Martin pulled his attachments into the playroom at Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas.

In a hospital gown, with a bandaged right arm, he went straight toward the trains.   The room was stocked with wooden and plastic trains, of all shapes and sizes.

Countless other toys filled the shelves, but John Mark wanted the trains.

It’s exactly what Candace Plaza envisioned.  “I love it,” she said. “I think the kids will love it too. I’m glad it’s here.”

The trains all come from Kiker Express, a non-profit group that has now donated more than 1,000 train items to three area hospitals.

Kiker was Plaza’s five-year-old son.  Medical City become his second home.  He died in 2009 waiting for a heart transplant.

During hospital stays and in between surgeries though, he was always asking for trains to play with.

Plaza just started bringing them.  After Kiker passed, she decided to continue the mission.

Thursday she and Kiker’s siblings, Bella, Jacob and Maggie, delivered a new load of trains, and for the first time saw the room’s new star attraction.

A green engine pulls three cars, on a track mounted just below the ceiling, and circling the entire room.  “If he were here and still having surgeries and spending time here he would sit in here and watch,” she said. “He would sit and just watch the train if it had been here when he was.”

Plaza has plans for Kiker Express to make tracks to new destinations and hospitals.  Toys, books, movies and anything train oriented is accepted and donated.

For information on donations, or to find out more about Plaza’s mission, check out http://www.kikerexpress.com/

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