“I could see the joy in his face. I’ve never seen him that happy before.”
When Samuel was a toddler, his parents were concerned with how fatigued he had become. He was also reacting and moving slowly. Samuel underwent testing which revealed he had mitochondrial myopathy, a condition that causes muscular and neurological problems. He needs a lot of medical attention seeing a neurologist, pulmonologist and cardiologist. Samuel tries living life to the fullest, but it’s a struggle and he feels different. He can’t run, climb or actively play like most other kids. He also has difficulty keeping up. For Samuel, his happy place is in the water. Samuel dreamed about swimming with dolphins… he would receive his wish and feel treasured on a pirate-themed St. Augustine adventure.
Samuel and his family checked into Hammock Beach, a beautiful oceanfront resort. “The hotel was amazing,” said Wish Kid Samuel. After settling in, the family was on their way to meet a motley crew of caring pirates who gathered for his special wish. Members of the St. Augustine Swashbucklers honored Samuel and his family, escorting them aboard the Black Raven Pirate Ship. It’s always formal pirate manners to welcome the presence of someone special. Pirates Templar crew members from around the country and Black Raven crew were also there to celebrate. During Samuel’s pirate cruise, he enjoyed a fun-filled adventure on the high seas complete with playful sword fights. “I even got to drive the ship,” said Samuel.
Yo ho ho… The Black Raven crew gave Samuel bushels of buccaneer bounty. He received an autographed photo of quarterback Blake Bortles of the Jacksonville Jaguars – Samuel’s favorite football team, a pirate chest filled with festive pirate booty, and lots of pirate merchandise. He was also presented with a gift certificate on behalf of The Pirates Templar.
“I could see the joy in his face,” said Samuel’s sister Alycia. “I’ve never seen him that happy before.” On behalf of Kids Wish Network, Samuel also presented the Black Raven crew with a customized treasure chest filled with exclusive gold coins and necklaces… a pirate’s dream.
After the cruise, Samuel and his family were escorted by all the pirates to A1A Ale House for dinner. Samuel’s wish was also a time when he felt an outpour of support being surrounded by caring people. “The pirates were all so friendly and welcoming,” said Samuel’s dad Hernando. “Samuel has trouble walking, and one of the pirates kindly carried him from the ship to the restaurant.”
The following day, Samuel was so excited visiting Marineland Dolphin Adventure for his exceptional dolphin encounter. He got into the water with a trainer and had one-on-one interaction with a friendly dolphin. “I got to play with the dolphin and teach him how to sing,” said Samuel. These were special moments shared by Samuel and his mom that they’d always remember.
During his wish, the family also enjoyed time at the Alligator Farm, Ripley’s Believe it or Not! museum and dining at LongHorn Steakhouse.
“Thank you so much for making my wish happen,” said Samuel.
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following sponsors for making Samuel’s dreams become a reality:
- Hammock Beach resort, St. Augustine
- Marineland Dolphin Adventure
- The Black Raven Pirate Ship St. Augustine
- Grace St Clare Quartermaster of The Black Raven
- Black Raven crew (St. Augustine)
- Augustine Swashbuckler’s pirate crew
- The Pirates Templar (crew throughout the United States)
- Alligator Farm, St. Augustine
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum St. Augustine
- LongHorn Steakhouse, St. Augustine