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GOOD SPORTS TEAM UP TO HELP A BOY REALIZE DREAM

How's this for a dream vacation?

You go to a Buffalo Sabres practice and meet Dominic Hasek on Thursday night. Then you spend a little time with Michael Peca, Brian Holzinger and Rob Ray.

As guests of the hockey team, you and your family -- along with 17,000 other fans -- watch the Sabres end a five-game winless streak on Friday night.

Then you get up early on Saturday to make it to a Buffalo Bills practice in the field house. There you toss a football and shoot the breeze with Doug Flutie for a few hours, and, once again, you and your family are guests of one of your favorite professional sports teams. This time, however, it's a heartbreaking 19-17 loss, but you're not too broken up because you have autographed jerseys and footballs to show off to your friends.

The vacation's not over yet. Before going back home to sunny Florida, you get in a little quality time with family here. When you get back Florida, you kick back, relax and enjoy the fact you got for Christmas exactly what you wished for.

Sounds unbelievable? It is to most of us, but to Jimmy Schneeberger, it was a dream come true.

Schneeberger is a 10-year-old boy with a tumor at the base of his brain stem. Battling the disease since doctors first diagnosed it in 1997, Jimmy has gone through three surgeries in two years, only to have the tumor grow back. He's had a full regimen of radiation and chemotherapy, and last month, he underwent a bone marrow and stem cell transplant.

After all he's been through, his big wish was to come to Buffalo to see his family, said his aunt, Anne Ryan. The Bills and Sabres were an added bonus.

"Meeting Doug Flutie was the highlight," Jimmy said. "So was going in the Sabres locker room and meeting Peca. He's a nice guy."

The Wishing Well Foundation of Marco Island, Fla., was responsible for making Jimmy's wishes come true. The organization coordinated the activities, including visits with doctors at Children's Hospital and Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

"We flew in on Tuesday, and first thing Wednesday we were seeing doctors," said Jimmy's father, Jim Schneeberger, who grew up in Clarence. "There are some outstanding doctors here."

Jimmy's mother, Debbie, grew up in Akron. The family, including 5-year-old Sarah and little brother Jared, 2, will end their two-week stay Tuesday.

"We get through each day the best we can. We get a lot of support from the people in the town we live in," the father said. Although the trip brought many smiles to his son's face, the elder Schneeberger said he wishes circumstances were different.

"He probably had THE dream week of any little boy. It was a great great visit, and there were a lot of big moments for him," he said. "This occurance of cancer has brought him different opportunities he may never have had, but we'd surely trade all the opportunities in the world for him to be well."

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