Football fields are places where hopes and dreams can come alive. That's what happened on Monday for Nicholas Thomas, 12, battling an aggressive form of leukemia.
Thomas walked into the Frisco Star, the Cowboys' official practice facility, simply expecting a tour. He was greeted by Frisco Mayor Jeff Chaney, who delivered the first surprise.
"I'm going to give you my pin here, which is going to make you mayor for the day," said Cheney.
"Can we put a Chick-fil-A by our house?" Thomas joked.
Wearing Make-A-Wish Foundation shirts, Thomas, a die-hard Cowboys fan, toured The Star with his family and Cheney.
At the end of the tour, Thomas and his mother sat down to watch a video, showing memories, sometimes painful, of the last three years since his diagnosis. Tears streamed down his mother's face.
"He's had countless spinal taps, countless bone marrow transplants. He's been very ill from what chemo treatment can do to you," said his mother, Denise Daniel.
"What I hate the most about them is when I have the breathing treatment at the end of it, because it hurts," said Thomas.
Children's Health therapy dogs helped Thomas face the pain and his fear of dogs. Eventually, he wanted a puppy of his own. He researched breeds and even picked out a name: Koda, after a Disney character.
So when Make-A-Wish called months ago, Thomas didn't hesitate to tell them what he wanted. He wrote a heartfelt letter asking for a puppy.
He had no idea he would get one at the end of Monday's tour.
When they walked outside, onto the football field in the plaza, dozens of family and friends with signs were waiting. And there was Koda, a Maltipoo puppy, in a Cowboys inspired bed.
Thomas is in remission, but has several more chemo treatments ahead. He said having Koda changes everything.
"I know that when I go home I'll see him, and that will make me happy," he said. "It makes it worth it."
"It's just a reminder that the darkest days are behind us," said Daniel.