Hunt of a Lifetime on the Water

Today’s blog comes from Larysa Switlyk, host of Larysa Unleashed . You can tune in to Larysa Unleashed Wednesdays at  4:00PM ET Fridays at  9:30AM ET and  Sundays at  12:30PM ET.

There is no better feeling than watching a child catch their first fish. It is even sweeter knowing you are helping to create family memories that will last a lifetime!  That is what Hunt of a lifetime is all about.

I am proud to say I am the ambassador for the state of Florida for “Hunt Of A Lifetime” which is a nonprofit organization with a mission to grant hunting & fishing dreams for children age 21 and under, who have been diagnosed with life threatening illnesses.  I got involved because I knew it was a way for me to share my passion of the outdoors and help make these children who have it rough dreams come true.

Bassmaster Classic 2014 Randy Howell and Cole with his first bass

Bassmaster Classic 2014 Randy Howell and Cole with his first bass

The founder of “Hunt of a Lifetime”, Tina Patterson, called me up to welcome me to the organization and already had two kids for me to plan a bass trip for them in Florida.  With some help from some amazing people, we got them set up to fish on the Disney Lakes with the help from Bassmaster Elite Series Pro Randy Howell who just recently won the 2014 Bassmasters! Randy was a great help with bringing these kid’s dreams come true and the look on their faces when they caught their first bass was priceless especially since their parents were able to watch from a pontoon boat nearby!

The kids, smiles, and their bass at the end of the day

The kids, smiles, and their bass at the end of the day

My next fishing trip was with a 9-year-old boy from Minnesota named Dalton who has a rare genetic disease. When I met him, he looked like a normal healthy young boy, it would never cross your mid that he was fighting for his life.

After the Loudon family arrived in Florida, I took them to get the real everglades experience by going on an airboat ride and play with gators. Captain David Ide of Lady Pamala II and his crew were nice enough to donate an offshore fishing trip to Hunt of a Lifetime to help make Dalton’s dream come true.

It was great to get Dalton warmed up on some inshore fish where he was catching 2 Bonita at a time. Then while headed offshore we got caught up in a mahi-mahi frenzy with just one after another fishing action!  Dalton’s father was shocked and speechless watching his son show his strength, he said, “You could tell Dalton was getting tired from reeling in all the fish but he just wouldn’t give up!”

Basmaster Classic 2014 Randy Howell and Emily with her first bass

Basmaster Classic 2014 Randy Howell and Emily with her first bass

Unfortunately we didn’t have luck getting Dalton his swordfish but we were successful in creating some amazing family memories and I’m glad I got to be apart of them.  Dalton has 5 brothers and sisters and they sent me a Christmas Card this past year and the best part, Dalton’s photo on the card was of him and his fish from Florida.

If you want to get involved with making a child’s dream come true then go to www.huntofalifetime.org.  If you want to keep up with Dalton’s progress, check out www.caringbridge.com/daltonloudon.

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