New York

Long Island Teen Won’t Let Rare Illness Derail His Dreams

What to Know

  • Planning your trip on the LIRR has been Islip High School junior Malik Ellis’s dream since he was just a toddler
  • Ellis has Prune Belly Syndrome, a disorder that has caused his kidneys to fail; He received a transplant a few years ago and needs another
  • Ellis became an MTA employee on Monday outfitted with the official uniform, an employee badge and even the MTA schedule handbook

Planning your trip on the LIRR has been Malik Ellis’s dream since he was just a toddler — so much so that he Islip High School junior knows the commuter rail inside and out.

However, this teen train enthusiast is dealing with his own life delays as he waits for a new kidney.

Ellis is battling Prune Belly Syndrome, a rare disorder that has caused Ellis’ kidneys to fail. He already received a transplant a few years ago and now he needs a second.

“If anybody is out there looking to donate a kidney please contact me as soon as possible,” he said.

Ellis posted a YouTube video looking for a donor. In the video he shares his dream of going to college and one day working for his favorite railroad.

LIRR officials saw his story and surprised him Monday.

Ellis became an MTA employee outfitted with the official uniform, an employee badge and even the MTA schedule handbook.

Nicole Paul-Smith, Ellis’ mother, said the event was filled with happiness and joy, but was “something that we never thought would happen.”

LIRR President Philip Eng said that the day’s event shows the importance of what the LIRR does “not only for Malik but for everyone we interact with.”

The day was filled with Ellis seeing how the entire LIRR operation works.

He said his dream to work in the service planning department is one step closer to reality and has many ideas on how to improve service for several lines like the Ronkonkoma Branch, Port Jefferson and the West Hampton branch.

“That’s going to be me in the future,” Ellis said.

Ellis is hopeful that he will receive that kidney transplant, graduate with the class of 2019 and head to college.

Who knows? Maybe one day you’ll see him when you’re riding the LIRR.

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