BYNUM, Mont. — It’s not unusual to see a 7-year-old digging in the dirt or the mud, but it's not often they're digging for dinosaurs in the rocks of Montana.
For Noah Mills, a dinosaur trip to the Montana Dinosaur Center is a dream come true.
“I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time,” he said while hitting the rocks with his hammer.
This is not a standard vacation for the Mills family. In fact, it’s one the Colorado family wondered if they would ever be able to make a few years ago. When Noah was 5 he was diagnosed with a stage 5 Wilms tumor, a form of kidney cancer. His trip to dig for dinosaurs is thanks to Make-A-Wish Colorado.
“Strangely enough, I just felt deep in my heart that he was going to be OK,” said Shannon Mills, his mother.
Noah’s mother was right, but it wasn’t easy for him to get where he is today. Noah had parts of both his kidneys removed and endured months of chemotherapy after his diagnosis. Keeping the whole family going was Noah’s love for dinosaurs.
“We’ve all rallied around the dinosaurs,” said Jason Mills, Noah’s father.
Now cancer free, Noah is hoping to find a piece of one of his favorite dinosaurs.
“My favorite type is the Utahraptor,” he said. “If I found one, I would be excited and jump up and down.”
Those same words could describe the reaction Noah’s parents have had to his recovery.
“Words don’t really capture it,” his dad said. “Just the ability to be here and knowing where Noah has come from and where he is today.”
Whether or not he goes home from the Montana Dinosaur Center having found his beloved Utahraptor, he knows one thing is for certain: When he grows up, he’s going to be a paleontologist.