Luke’s Journey From Hospital Bed to the Coast Guard

Jul 30, 2014 6:15 PM ET
Campaign: Wish Stories

Radiation treatments were not what Luke wanted to do each day. He wanted to be outdoors, learning new skills. Instead, he spent his time battling a brain tumor. But there was something that helped Luke stay optimistic during treatments: emails from Coast Guard rescue swimmers about his wish experience.

Luke told Make-A-Wish his wish was to be a Coast Guard rescue swimmer. After hearing of Luke’s wish Coast Guard rescue swimmers began sending emails to encourage Luke. They told him how much they looked forward to meeting him. Their support and genuine enthusiasm built Luke’s determination to get well enough for his wish.

And finally, he was ready to go.

When Luke arrived at the United States Coast Guard Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Alabama, he received his own flight suit and then the real fun began. Rescue swimmers took Luke into the pool to learn rescue techniques. They put him in the seat of the helicopter simulator to prepare him for the later stages of his training.

After days of practice, Luke put his skills to the test in an offshore rescue exercise. Flying in a helicopter, Luke arrived at the scene and was lowered into the water by a cable – to “rescue" two stranded pilots. Following his noble rescue, Luke was greeted by the entire base. He was honored to be given his rescue swimmer wings and certificate.

"Luke’s passion for the Coast Guard and big smile throughout all of the events was a huge inspiration to our members," said Commander Dave Saunders.

Luke's wish exceeded every expectation - just what we hope for in every wish we grant. His wish 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.”

Read more stories about the life-changing wishes granted by Make-A-Wish at