HIGHFILL, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A Bella Vista nine-year-old departed from Northwest Arkansas National Airport earlier today on his way to Disney World as part of a Make-A-Wish trip.

Sawyer Ellis was diagnosed with brain cancer in December 2021.

Ellis had surgery to remove a tumor on Feb. 14 last year. Doctors removed what they could, but about half of the tumor was touching important areas of the brain and was unable to be taken out.

Today, Ellis was greeted with open arms at XNA as he got ready for a flight to Orlando for a Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World.

“When Sawyer got through security, he was greeted by a cheering crowd of employees, Make-A-Wish team members, and other travelers. Sawyer went to Smokewood American Grill, where he opened a gift basket from Paradies Lagardere, the principal vendor of XNA, and gifts from XNA and the Regional Jet Center,” a release from XNA said.

Ellis’ departure was made extra special by a water cannon salute from the XNA fire department.

“The water cannon salute is a symbol of honor and a mark of respect. We are extremely honored to be a part of Sawyer’s Make-A-Wish trip,” XNA said.