When you go to Kyle’s house, it’s immediately clear where his interests lie. His walls and his bed are decorated with fish, sharks and whales, and he shares his home with four fish tanks. When asked what he wished for, it didn’t take long to decide on fishing. Said Kyle, “I want to go fishing on a small or big river to catch a great white shark, whale shark, flounder and fly fish!” If you’re asked to dream, you might as well dream big, right?
Catching a single fish in a vast lake is emblematic for a boy whose hope of surviving his aplastic anemia, a condition which prevents his body from regenerating blood cells, depends on finding a one-in-40-million bone marrow match. Kyle is half Caucasian and half Chinese, and so his donor must be the same. Because of his parents’ heroic efforts to attract potential bone marrow donors of mixed ethnicity, over 2,500 people have registered as donors so far, and thankfully, two have been deemed a match. For now, the immune suppression treatment he’s been undergoing and medicine he’s been taking mean that Kyle has been able to hold off on the bone marrow transplant, and has more energy.
And energy was what Kyle had on August 3rd when he stood by the shore of a private lake stocked late the night before with fish, junior sized fishing rod in hand, waiting to finally land his elusive prey. But after an interminable fifteen minutes without a bite, the property owner realized that the smaller sized rod couldn’t cast far enough out into the lake to reach the fish. So the Make-A-Wish team presented Kyle with his own bigger-sized customized rod and that made all the difference—his first cast landed in the middle of the fish and the bobber went crazy! Kyle began reeling in his catch and “squealing with joy” according to Make-A-Wish executive director, Patricia Wilson, who was there to witness it all. As the assembled adults took photos of Kyle with his prize, Kyle’s mom Angela buried her head in her hands, sobbing tears of joy. The rest of the adults couldn’t help but do the same; meanwhile Kyle kept on fishing, yelling “net!” as he reeled in one after another fish.
His luck continued the next day when Kyle collected third prize in the junior fisherman category at the Fish For A Wish tournament. The tournament, a benefit for Make-A-Wish that was being held nearby, made Kyle its guest of honor, and its founder had helped Kyle catch his fish the day before. According to Kyle’s dad, David, instead of thinking of his illness that night, he slept with his fishing trophy!