Nonprofit Gifts Dream Hunting, Fishing Ventures to Children With Life-Threatening Illnesses

by Jennifer Shea

A Pennsylvania nonprofit is gifting hunting and fishing expeditions to children with life-threatening disabilities and illnesses. 

Hunt of a Lifetime launched in 1998. Tina Pattison founded it to fulfill the dying wish of her cancer-stricken son Matthew: a moose hunt with his father. Matthew died in 1999. But since then, the nonprofit has gone on to help scores of other children, including 46 children this year alone.

Nonprofit Helped 46 Children in 2020

The nonprofit helps children under 21 with disabilities or illnesses that can be fatal. It is run entirely by volunteers. And it grants hunting and fishing wishes to kids with everything from cancer to muscular dystrophy to childhood diabetes.

One of the children they helped this year is Idaho resident Jack Floyd. He went hunting for moose in the Idaho mountains for a week after he got out of the hospital. 

“It was a really special trip,” Jack’s father Matt Floyd told Idaho News 6. “We spent about six months in the hospital last year, and Jack, before he got out of the hospital, he knew he was accepted for this hunt. So that really helped him for the last month or two of his hospitalization that he had something to look forward to.”

Jack managed to kill a moose, and his father said it gave him a special sense of accomplishment. Moreover, he said the moose will feed their family for a long time.

“It was really good because COVID was there, and we couldn’t really get out of the house or go anywhere, so being able to go on a moose hunt was really fun and helpful,” Jack told Idaho News 6.

In the Last Years of their Lives, They Get to Be Kids Again

Hunt of a Lifetime is paying to have Jack’s moose sent to the taxidermist. That way he can mount it on a wall at home.

“It is just overwhelming to see what these kids go through on a normal daily basis,” Hunt of a Lifetime Idaho Ambassador Blaine Bergin said. “And then you get them out there, and it is the one week of the last two to three years of their lives that they actually get to be normal. You know, they get to be a kid again.”