Since 1983, many wishes have been granted by the Dayton Chapter of A Special Wish Foundation (ASW). Many children who qualify for a Wish dream of going to Walt Disney World or to meet their favorite celebrity or sports team. David Stammen, 16, of Sidney, wanted a different kind of experience: He wanted to go fishing.
David, a natural born fisherman since an early age, initially wished to go fishing at Lake Loramie State Park in Ohio. Although this Wish was certainly feasible, ASW encouraged David to think a little bigger. After some thought, David decided on halibut fishing in Alaska.
A Special Wish Foundation – Dayton Chapter was excited to make his wish come true and at the same time celebrate David’s successful beating Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (he was diagnosed with stage 4 and today is cancer-free!!!) and the organizations first wish to The Last Frontier state.
After several months of planning and coordinating with local businesses in Homer, Alaska, it was finally time to deliver David’s wish. Thanks to community realtor and cheerleader, Sandi Shipman of Berkshire Hathaway, David’s wish delivery would be the beginning of the celebration. The delivery took place on the beautiful, historic Shelby County Courthouse Square where David and his family were surrounded by family, friends, community leaders and his father’s fellow fireman. Along with finding out all the details of his Special Wish trip to Alaska, David was also honored by his hometown when Sidney Councilman Steve Wagner declared June 16, 2016, “Special Wish for David Stammen Day.”
David and his family left for Alaska on Monday, June 20 and after a long flight landed in Anchorage but their travels did not end there. The family loaded up in their rented vehicle and drove approximately four and half hours to Homer, AK. Although after a long flight driving for four hours may not be on the top of anyone’s list of “things to do” but the Alaskan country side makes for a beautiful drive. Once arriving in Homer, the family had four days to explore the area and most importantly David and his father would have two days far out in the Alaskan waters to fish for halibut. An unexpected surprise for David was from the brother of the owner of the cabin where the Stammens were staying. He was a pilot and graciously gave the family a wonderful birds-eye view of Alaska, flying over the amazing scenery, touring the Alaskan mountains and wildlife. While in the plane the family was able to spot whales, otters swimming and black bears amongst the landscape.
When this Alaskan adventure ended the family came home with enough fish to last a long while but more importantly memories that will last a life time. Although David is back home in Sidney preparing for the upcoming school year, this might not be his last visit to Alaska as he aspires to return and work on a commercial fishing boat during the summer.
“We thank everybody and especially A Special Wish Foundation for their generosity, prayers and all the rest. It’s been a long eight months for David, we’ve had a few bad months but the prayers are really what helped us out. David is now cancer free, said Doug Stammen. “The trip was amazing and we were in awe in how beautiful it is in Alaska.”
A Special Wish Foundation — Dayton Chapter would like to thank the wonderful people of Homer, Alaska, who were so generous and kind in donating lodging, airplane trips and spa treatments and other surprises along the way to make his trip extra special. David’s wish was made possible through the generous donations made by the supporters of ASW. For more information on how you can be part of making a Special Wish come true for a local child, go online to www.aspecialwishdayton.org or call 937-223-WISH (9474.)
David Seyer is the executive director of A Special Wish Foundation. Tyler Gregory is an intern for A Special Wish Foundation — Dayton Chapter from the Wright State University Non-Profit Leadership Alliance.