Brett Lisikatos thought the highlight of his 16th birthday would be a tour of the Naval Academy. He and his family spent the morning of July 9 in Annapolis, honoring his recently deceased grandfather. But the Make-A-Wish Foundation wouldn't let Brett's day stop there. His idol, Travis Pastrana, was waiting down the road to grant Brett's wish.
Brett's mother, Donna Lisikatos, discussed the highlights of her son's My Wish experience with ESPN.com.
What was your first reaction when you found out Brett would be getting his wish?
I was ecstatic. When Make-A-Wish called, we were actually down at the hospital [in the waiting room] and he was getting his full set of scans that day. Make-A-Wish said they wanted to keep it a secret. Brett was in and out of tests, and he had just come out when I was on the phone with Make-A-Wish. I had to hide all of my excitement [laughs].
How did he find out about his wish while at the Naval Academy?
At the end of the tour, since Travis Pastrana lives 15 minutes away, our tour guide presented him with a birthday card and message. ... Brett read the card out loud. As he's reading it, he realized Travis Pastrana was inviting him over to his house. He was just filled with excitement. He was ready to go right at that point.
Can you think of a better birthday present than that?
No. He always talked about wanting a car like Travis Pastrana's [for his 16th birthday]. I was like, "Brett, we can't really afford a [Subaru] STI right now." Just for him, Travis took [Brett] in his STI for his birthday, and they ended up doing a couple of donuts in the driveway. I think that made up for it; he doesn't even remember not getting an STI now [laughs].
Could you walk me through his day with Travis?
We took the limo over and pulled in the driveway, and Brett was out of his seat. He was just breathless after seeing Travis' house. ... His face was pretty much glued to the window. The limo wasn't even in park yet, and Brett was out of that car. He saw Travis before anyone else did. They shook hands, and Brett just threw his arms around him and said, "I love you, Travis." I could tell by Travis' face that he was touched.
We went into his garage, which is bigger than the average house -- motorcycles galore. He had one of his famous foam pits inside the garage that he uses on his "Nitro Circus" show.
They talked for a little bit; they were kidding around. They had an instant connection. It was amazing. ... Travis took the motorcycle out and, knowing that Brett rides quads, he took a quad out, too. They took off into the woods. The cameramen had to catch up with them. It was like nobody else existed at that moment. It was just those two. I know that was Brett's highlight -- getting to ride with Travis. That's what his dream always was.
When they came back, Travis and his friend Hubert show Brett a trick on the quad -- one where he flips into the foam pit. And Travis was like, "Alright, it's your turn, Brett." It's this big, wide ramp. Even the cameramen were like, "Donna, you look a little pale. If you don't want him to do it, you don't have to." I said, "You know what? If I tell him he can't do it, he'll have my head later." ... He just loved that. There was no more fear. Travis' face was priceless.
And, I didn't know it, but they had a birthday cake for Brett. ... What really touched me, as Travis was walking along the side of his garage [with the birthday cake], the candles were flickering like they wanted to go out. And he was so intense about making sure none of those candles blew out before he was able to present it to Brett.
Brett was so caught off guard. He's the type who will want to cry, but he'll smile to try to hide it. ... And out of the blue, Travis said, "You know what, Brett? It's not a birthday without this," as he smashed [the cake] in Brett's face. He didn't even want to wash it off because it was Travis who did it to him [laughs].
They were just best friends. Travis was so down-to-earth. He was such a great person with Brett. I'll always thank him for that. Brett will talk in his sleep sometimes, and that night, he was talking to Travis in his sleep [laughs]. He got up the next day and wrote Travis a nice thank-you note, ... and he made up a collage of photos of his day with Travis and sent that to him. I know Brett had a tracking number on it, and he was ecstatic [when it arrived].
His face, after all he has been through, was priceless. ... He even told me, "Mom, I couldn't even breathe right, I was so excited." That was good, especially after you see your child lying in bed all those months through chemo. ... To see that my son was able to ride a quad into the [foam] pit and do all these things like he did before he was sick, it's like nothing stopped him again. I know I have my old Brett still.