Every day of radiation treatments is a struggle for Luke. He wants to be outdoors, learning new skills as a Boy Scout. Instead, he’s working to survive a brain tumor. But there’s something that helps Luke stay optimistic during his treatments: emails from Coast Guard rescue swimmers.
Luke is looking forward to his Make-A-Wish experience. He told Make-A-Wish that his one true wish is to be a Coast Guard rescue swimmer. And here’s the great part – the Coast Guard rescue swimmers who will welcome Luke into their world are just as eager as he is.
Their emails encourage Luke. Each email tells him how much the rescue swimmers look forward to meeting him. Their support and genuine enthusiasm builds Luke’s determination to get well enough for his wish.
And finally, he is healthy enough and ready to go.
Reporting for Duty
Luke arrives at the USCG Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Ala. The rescue swimmers outfit him in a flight suit and introduce him to the personnel who will grant his wish.
And the real fun soon begins: The rescue swimmers soon have Luke in the pool to learn rescue techniques. They put him in the right seat of the helicopter simulator to prepare him for the later stages of his training.
A Coast Guard admiral also honors Luke with a challenge coin, a rare keepsake that will always remind him of his days as a rescue swimmer.
Luke Earns His Wings
This is no simulator. Luke feels the downdraft from the helicopter’s rotor tug at him as he peers out the open door. He clings to a cable that lowers him from the hovering helicopter into the water.
Luke will apply everything he’s learned in today’s exercise, which is to rescue two stranded pilots. Soon, Luke and the pilots are aboard the helicopter and on their way back to the base.
As the helicopter approaches the base, Luke sees a huge crowd of Coast Guard personnel waiting to congratulate him.
He steps out of the helicopter and receives his rescue swimmer wings and a certificate to mark the occasion.
Into the Future
Luke's wish exceeded every expectation - just what we hope for in every wish we grant. It offered him strength during a trying time. It gave him something great to look forward to. And it continues to give him an emotional lift even today.
“To this day, rescue swimmers from the base still keep in contact with him, wishing him well,” said Luke’s mother. “His health is better than it has been in a long time, and it was this wish that made it possible.”