An icon of the railroad past is taking shape in the Martin family's back yard. The wooden caboose is a gift for their daughter, Kaylin.
"Kaylin has loved trains since she was very little," said Sandra Martin, Kaylin's mother. "She gets that from her daddy. They had a little model train and she liked to help him decorate it and set it up."
Kaylin hasn't had a lot of time to play with trains lately. In 2011 she was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a condition that causes the body to stop producing normal blood cells.
"She had a double diagnosis, both of which led to a poor outcome," Martin said.
To save her life, Kaylin had to get a bone marrow transplant. That procedure caused her kidneys to fail.
"She's had many readmissions, various surgeries, and extensive treatments ever since then," said Martin.
Throughout the ordeal, Kaylin had just one request. She wanted her very own caboose; a place where she could play and forget about being sick.
Two years ago a non-profit organization offered to grant her wish. Excitement quickly turned to disappointment.
"Every time she came home from the hospital, she would immediately look in the yard to see if her caboose was there," said Martin. "Every time her heart would fall, because it was not there."
A few weeks ago, the problem appeared to be solved. Contractors showed up to build the caboose, but they didn't complete it. The non-profit only paid for part of the construction.
"The disappointment of her caboose has been devastating," said Martin. "She has cried more over the caboose than she has her illness."
Kaylin can't use the unfinished caboose. It's not safe for someone with her medical condition.
"If she got a splinter or a cut, that could turn into an infection, which for her could be life threatening," Martin said.
Finishing the project wouldn't just thrill Kaylin. It would be a dream come true for the whole family.
"It would thrill my heart, said Martin. "This is what she's asked for since the very beginning."
Friends are holding a bake sale Saturday to raise money for the caboose. It's from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Walmart in Madison Heights.
Martin estimates it will cost around $2,000 dollars to finish the project. She's not naming the non-profit that was involved in granting the request. She's angry with how they handled the situation, but says she doesn't want to give them a bad name.