It was with help from the Make-A-Wish foundation that an Indiana boy with a rare disease met a hero. Eight-year-old Averey is battling a sickle cell disease. One day, he hopes to become an astronaut. He loves to use his telescope and is fascinated by science, space, and aliens.

While the Make-A-Wish Foundation couldn’t exactly bring him to space, they got creative to help fulfill his “Mission to Mars” this week. Averey and his brother were invited to the Kentucky Science Center where he “flew to space” through the Challenger Learning Center. It was done through a simulation.

He also got to meet his favorite astronaut, Leland Melvin, in Louisville. “Averey reminds me of me when I was his age, so curious,” said Melvin. “He told me he’s going to Mars and I believe him. I know he can do it and I’ll be watching.”

Melvin is a retired NASA Astronaut who traveled to space twice to help build the International Space Station. He is also the only person drafted into the National Football League to have flown in space.

Source: WLKY