For Wish Kid Gage, all he wanted was a beach vacation. So we sent the Ohio-teen on an amazing adventure in Palm Coast, Florida. Gage suffers from a life-threatening version of Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease that causes dangerous complications, so his beach vacation wish was the perfect time to relax.
One great activity planned by his Wish Coordinator, Tonya, was some kayaking and paddleboarding with Tropical Kayaks. Meg, the owner of the business, wrote up her story of Gage’s visit.
Meg from Tropical Kayaks:
First of all, thank you to Kids Wish Network for including us in Gage’s wonderful adventure wish. Tropical Kayaks of Palm Coast was so honored to be part of his family for a day! And another thank you to Tonya , Gage’s Wish Coordinator, for making his dream come true with her very personal planning of Gage’s fun on the water.
Tropical Kayaks rents kayaks, paddleboards & Electric Boats from a small piece of paradise. Established in 1999 in Palm Coast, Florida, our kayak business is small, but located right on the water and lots of fun, especially for those who have never paddled before such as Gage’s family. When Kids Wish Network called and asked if we would participate in making a special wish come true for one of their kids, we knew immediately it was a “Yes!”
I personally have been struggling with skin cancer, multiple biopsies, and radiation treatments for the last 2 years now. It is very tough on a family when someone is given news of a life-threatening illness; with devastating side effects and so many treatment schedules, it takes a toll on the entire family. I related to Gage’s family and their struggle, and was happy we could get them out on the water kayaking.
Kids Wish Network was most professional and personalized Gage’s wish so well; we felt very comfortable offering our services to the charity. Tonya always took the time to answer questions I had about Gage’s needs and expectations. She also explained how special her Wish Kids are to her.
We were so excited to meet Gage, his parents, twin sisters and brother when they arrived the day of their visit. Our business is located at the Palm Coast Marina where kayaking is so easy! We gave Gage and his family a brief lesson and safety speech, and off we went to Manatee Cove for a kayak trip. It was quite hot, and I was surprised by Gage and his brother’s enthusiasm as they paddled ahead of his parents (who were in 2 person kayaks, each parent with one of the twins).
A good sense of humor is most certainly required for beginners as they seem to zigzag along the salt water canal leading to the Cove. Laughter is the best medicine as we all felt a sense of pride and well-being while paddling along on the water, anticipating a dolphin or manatee sighting. It was just what the doctor ordered for family fun.
I was shy for the first few minutes, not knowing the family or if they were water people at all, and hesitant about their abilities to paddle. But they were champs! We were able to drift along inside the cove and finally saw a manatee tail swishing back into the water as it dove. I wished it had lingered, but unfortunately she was on her own mission searching for greens to munch on. I think this was a thrill for the kids. We paddled back to the kayak launch; the kids with more energy, mom and dad more so tired from the heat. But, the day was not over yet……..
Gage, his brother and his dad had another adventure waiting for them after a brief rest and ice cream. I introduced them to paddleboarding: (SUP) Stand up Paddle boarding is so easy and fun. I am 60 years old and have done it for almost 6 years now; it’s a blast. The kids took to it immediately while dad paddled along side in a kayak taking photos.
I think this was such an accomplishment for the boys. I loved watching, so proud to see them happy and full of energy after paddling already for almost 2 hours in the kayaks; I wish I had all that energy!
During the day, I forgot Gage and his family have been coping with his illness; while out on the water they were all having so much fun. It seemed time flew by and it all came to an end too soon.
We gave them Tropical Kayaks T-shirts, hats and backpacks to take home as a memory keepsake of our special time together. We were so happy to be part of their Florida wish.
Saying goodbye was tough; the family was so grateful, especially Gage’s dad. I think he was able to be a kid at heart himself while leading the group into unchartered waters. They have tackled so much together as a family. It was a thrill for me to see them all together, paddling for the very first time and loving every minute while exploring our beautiful Florida habitats! Fear had disappeared, and was replaced with awe and a sense of adventure and accomplishment.
Thank you Kids Wish Network, Tonya, and Gage and his family for sharing his wish with us!
It was a pleasure to meet the family and work with Kids Wish Network. So many are in need of that special wish to be granted and new memories made to move them forward towards better days.
Thank you Kids Wish Network, I think you made it possible for Gage to break away from his illness and be a kid at least for one day!
Meg at Topical Kayaks of Palm Coast Florida
You can read the story written by the local “Palm Coast Observer” here: http://www.palmcoastobserver.com/news/palm-coast/Neighborhood/082120149764/Ohio-teen-with-Crohns-disease-granted-beach-vacati