ARLINGTON, Va. (WUSA9) -- A dream comes true for an 8-year-old boy from Canada, who had a debilitating disease.
Thanks to the Children's Wish Foundation of Canada,Little Braden Nienaber got to skate with his idol, Capitals Goaltender Braden Holtby at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Saturday.
"It's cool, this practice is awesome," Braden Nienaber said.
Braden Nienabernot only gets to watch his team play, but he gets to meet the players. But what got him here nearly shattered this little boy's life and his family.
Braden was just four years old when his parents discovered a tumor on his forehead.
"The radiologist said it was a fluid filled gland, nothing to worry about," said Tammy Nienaber, Braden's mother.
But they had a lot to worry about.
It turns out Braden had Histiocytosis, a rare blood disease that kept him in and out of the hospital for about a year.
Despite the surgeries, chemo and countless days in the hospital, today Braden is a healthy and happy little boy.
"We want to thank the Children's Wish Foundation and the Washington Capitals. Everything they've done for a little boy they don't know from Canada."
Big Braden and Little Braden had met before. They were practically neighbors in their Canadian hometown. Little Braden watched Holtby play for the Saskatoon Blades and followed Holtby's rise to the National Hockey League.
It's everybody's dream to play and skate on the same ice as an NHL team and today he gets to do it, " said Tammy Nienaber.
"That was his one wish to come here and play with the Capitals. We're the lucky ones. He'll remember this forever and I hope we make his trip worthwhile, " says Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals.
On Sunday, little Braden will participate in a ceremonial puck drop and watch the Capitals play the Buffalo Sabres at the Verizon Center.