A few weeks ago in the late afternoon while I was re-spooling one of my fishing reels my wife had yelled down to me in the cellar and said that I had a phone call. Right in the middle of my winding I had asked her who was on the phone to which she responded, "I think you’d better get this call." So I stopped what I was doing and picked up the phone and said hello. The voice on the other end of the phone introduced herself as Cheryl from the "Make A Wish Foundation," she then proceeded to ask me if I was the Bass Coach?, to which I responded yes!... She then asked if I was the person that had the bass fishing school and a bass charter service located up in the Lake Champlain region in upstate New York, to which I again said yes!... I was thinking to myself (kind of dumbfounded) and was wondering why she would be calling me, so I asked what I could do for her. Cheryl then told me that a 17 year old boy by the name of Jared who presently resides in Michigan had made a wish. Now, I had heard of the Make-A-Wish-Foundation in the past and even donated to it’s foundation but I wasn’t sure how the foundation really functioned, I just knew that they had helped people with terminal illnesses make their wishes come true, but when Cheryl had told me that Jared specifically requested that he wanted to meet me in person, and especially that he wanted me personally to teach him how to fish for bass I was speechless... I then thought to myself for a moment wow!, what an honor, Cheryl said that this young man (17 years young) had been diagnosed with a terminal illness called "Leukemia", and of anywhere in the whole world he could have choose to visit, or of anybody that he could have wanted to meet or see, he just wanted to meet me personally and to have me teach him how to fish for bass. I never in my wildest dreams expected an honor such as this one.
After the Make-A-Wish Foundation and I had set up a time slot that was open on my calendar and scheduled Jared and his father to attend my 3-Day "On-Water" Bass Fishing School, much to my surprise, not only was Jared and his father coming to the Lake Champlain area, but the Make-A-Wish Foundation made it possible for Jared’s whole family to come with along with them and visit the Lake Champlain, NY area during the period when the school would be scheduled. The more I was learning about this foundation the more impressed I got in finding out what they were doing for the unfortunate people suffering from all the many different terminal illnesses. This Make-A-Wish Foundation is truly great! All of my life I have donated to charities of different natures but after dealing with this foundation I feel that it’s a true "second-to-none" organization that really supports its cause. Anyway, while helping with lodging accommodations I had suggested to Cheryl that a Bed & Breakfast establishment would be a great idea for Jared and his family to stay at because they would have the old "Home-Town" hospitality that would make their stay more comfortable, and she agreed. When the reservations were made, the lodging was reserved at the Crown Point Bed and Breakfast which was only a minute from Lake Champlain and about 10 minutes from Lake George (which being the two lakes that I teach on), and just minutes away from Lake Placid (NY), Burlington, VT., Rutland, VT., and Fort Ticonderoga which is located in the Town of Ticonderoga, NY. This gave Jared’s family a chance to visit the many different areas here in the famous Adirondak Mountains as well as a chance for Jared and his father to enjoy the different places after the finish of each "On-water" school day.
When the first day of the school started, I picked up Jared and his father (Ron) at the bed and breakfast where they were staying. After meeting them for the first time, the first impression I got from Jared was a good one. He was a tall, slim, good looking boy with a great personality. As the three days had so quickly moved on, while spending time with Jared and his father I couldn’t help but from getting attached to them. We had so much fun fishing together especially while catching several bass each day that we had spent on the water. Just being able to teach them how to use so many different baits that they’d never used before and consistently catching bass with them, we all had a great time. Jared and Ron didn’t realize that there were different types of baits that caught mostly big bass while other types of baits caught smaller ones (especially in numbers.) Jared used to fish with his grandfather off and on through the years while growing up, but now his father had a chance to learn not only how to catch bass, but how to spend more quality time with his son fishing together as a family should. During these three days, Jared and his father not only learned how to fish for bass, but they learned how to enjoy each other just spending time doing something they now had in common.
When the last day approached I was starting to feel a deep kind of sorrow for Jared because I knew that I probably wouldn’t have a chance to see him again. The little time that I had spent with Jared, I found him to be an amazing seventeen year old boy with a positive attitude in just about everything that he talked about. I don’t know if most of us wouldn’t just pity ourselves if we were in Jared’s situation or not, but I do know now what strength, love, caring, and having friends and family is all about. I know the Lord has reasons for everything that he does, and I’m sure that he had a reason for Jared’s condition, but, I would gladly trade places with him if I could. I just want Jared and his father to know that I’ll always hold a place in my heart for them and that my prayers will be with them always.
Lastly, I want to thank the Make-A-Wish Foundation once again for all that they have done for Jared and his family. It’s organizations like this one that truly make wishes come true! Please, help in supporting this foundation because they are truly for real.
Until next time... Take care & God Bless!... "The Bass Coach"... Roger Lee brown