When Luke was 11-years-old he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Due to the severity of the tumor, Luke and his family were informed by doctors that it was not likely he’d survive this illness. Despite the challenges he has had to bravely face, Luke hasn’t let his medical condition get him down. He like being outdoors, riding bikes, swimming, hiking, and especially loves spending time with his family. He is also active in his community, serving as a Boy Scout.
Because of his deep desire to serve, it was no surprise that Luke wished to be a rescue swimmer for the United States Coast Guard. Before going on his wish, Luke struggled with radiation treatments, and didn’t think he’d be able to go on his dream adventure. During this difficult time, Luke received emails of encouragement from the rescue swimmers at the base. They told him how much they looked forward to meeting him. With this extra surge of support, Luke responded with added resolve and determination, and was eventually well enough to go on his trip.
When Luke arrived at the Mobile, Ala. Aviation Training Center for the Coast Guard, he was given his own flight suit and was introduced to the different officers. Luke swam in the pool and learned rescue techniques. He flew in the helicopter flight simulators, and operated the weapons simulator. He even met a Coast Guard Admiral who awarded him with his first challenge coin — a distinguished award in the Coast Guard.
One of the most memorable experiences for Luke was on the final day of his training. He had the opportunity to take part in a “rescue operation” offshore. Flown from the base in a helicopter, Luke arrived at the scene and was lowered into the water by a cable. He then rescued two stranded pilots with the techniques he learned during the week. Following the rescue mission, Luke was greeted by the entire base and was given his rescue swimmer wings and certificate.
Luke’s wish experience has enriched his life with a little extra dose of hope, strength and joy. “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.”