By Emelie Peacock
Special to the Standard
Eight-year-old Hudson Hendrickx, who reminds Highway Thru Hell viewers that he’ll be nine in December, got his biggest wish fulfilled when he met the man behind Hope’s most well-known tow truck company.
His meeting with Jamie Davis won many hearts when it was shared on the Facebook page of the Discovery Channel’s reality television series about the tow truck drivers who brave the Coquihalla at its worst. The series was a huge part of Hudson’s life as he underwent treatment for a brain tumour and, fast forward two years, Hudson is still a big fan and he’s doing much better.
VIDEO OF HUDSON MEETING JAMIE DAVIS: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=917234945868307
Hudson’s dad Nic Hendrickx recalled the time Hudson and his siblings Dawson and Taelynn, as well as mom Renee, flew to Canada from their home in Fergus Falls, Minnesota to meet Davis. Hudson had just a few months earlier finished his last round of treatment for a germinoma germ cell tumour, a rare form of cancer in young Hudson’s brain.
When asked by Make-A-Wish volunteers if he could have anything he wanted, go anywhere he wanted or meet anyone he wanted, Renee recalled that he replied “I want to go to see Jamie Davis, I want to see the Coquihalla.”
“I really wanted to meet him for a long time,” said Hudson, who added that it wasn’t hard to make the decision when asked. “He didn’t bat his eye,” said Nic “That was it.”
Hudson, whose dad is a diesel mechanic, has spent a lot of time around big rigs and his fascination with Highway Thru Hell is all about the trucks. When asked whether tow trucks might be in his future, Hudson – who is a man of few words according to dad – replied “yeah.”
After doctors discovered a mass growing in Hudson’s brain and he entered the hospital for treatment, the show was a constant companion. As the young boy went through an experience he described as getting “rougher and rougher” with the hardest days being the last few treatments, just about all he wanted to do was watch Highway Thru Hell.
Nic estimates he must have watched the first three seasons, which streamed on Netflix, five times at least. “That’s what he did, that’s what his go-to was, it made him feel better.”
Of the experience of watching their child go through such a devastating illness, Nic said “I don’t have words to describe, to see your child as sick as he was… You can’t say you know until you’ve been there.”
“It was 16, 18 months of a lot of sleepless nights and constantly worrying about what’s going to happen? Are there complications? Worrying about his future,” Nic recalled.
It was impossible not to think about what was happening to his son, Nic said, but the Make-A-Wish trip was a break in the routine and an airplane ride to Canada was a welcome change. During their time in B.C., Hudson visited the yard at Jamie Davis Towing and got to inspect and sit in his favourite truck from the show, Mighty Mo.
“Him taking a shining to that truck I think really, maybe reflects on who he is, you know. He’s tough, and he’s made it through some tough times,” said Davis on the video that now has 28,000 views and over 1,000 interactions and comments. “I got my wish today, Jamie Davis is cool,” Hudson said on video.
He and his family also drove up the Coquihalla and saw the steep hills, yet on a day with little traffic and no snow on the ground it was hard to picture the scenarios that play out for Jamie and his crew. “It was really cool,” Hudson remembers of the visit.
“Sometimes we have bad days,” Davis said. “But at the end of the day when a young guy like Hudson can take something from that and it’s comforting to him in his bad days, I think that’s a win.”
It appears Hudson’s story also inspired some of the Highway Thru Hell team members. Keen fans of the show may catch a glimpse of a t-shirt with a superman emblem bearing the words “Hope for Hudson” worn by James Jr. in an episode last season.
“We’re still not quote normal, because he still goes to get tested every six months,” said Nic, yet the situation is “as close to normal as we probably ever will get.” Hudson is considered to be in full remission.
“No matter how bad it seems, just keep the faith. There’s always a better tomorrow coming down the road. You might not be able to see it, but it’s there,” Nic said of the message he’d like to get to people learning about Hudson’s story.
“And tell Jamie whenever he wants us to come visit again, we’ll jump on the next plane.”