Kremmling grants boys hunting wish
Kremmling, the Sportsmans Paradise, was just that for a young cancer patient who wanted to experience deer hunting in the Colorados Rocky Mountains.Seventeen-year-old Nathan Sanders of New Philadelphia, Ohio got his first-ever mule deer Saturday while hunting with his father, Charles, at Blue Valley Ranch. He harvested a 13-point buck with a single shot. The teenager has been a leukemia patient for the past three and a half years. He got his chance to hunt in Colorado from the Hunt of a Lifetime, a nonprofit organization that offers hunting and fishing trips to children suffering from life-threatening diseases.Despite his illness, Nathan hunted whitetail deer in past years in Ohio, but believed it was only a dream that he would ever get the opportunity to hunt mule deer in Colorados mountains.I saw a mule deer hunt in Colorado on television and wished I could do it, too, Nathan said. While I was getting leukemia treatments at the Akron Childrens Hospital, one of my doctors told me about Hunt of a Lifetime, so I decided to try it.After contacting them, all we had to do is fill out some forms and include my medical records, he said. Once we sent them in, it didnt take long before Hunt of a Lifetime called to ask what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. I told them I wanted to go to Colorado to hunt mule deer.Arrangements for the trip were made by Hunt of a Lifetimes volunteer staff. Last Friday, they flew into Denver International Airport where they were met by one of the organizations representatives who drove them up to Kremmling to stay at the Eastin Hotel. As they drove into downtown, they spotted a sign put up by the Kremmling Chamber of Commerce to welcome Nathan. Up bright and early Saturday morning, Nathan was eager to fulfill his dream of a deer hunt in the mountains. They drove out to Blue Valley Ranch where they met their guide, Josh Richert.He took us around looking for deer, Nathan said. We spotted a couple of nice ones, but I decided to pass on them. We looked around some more, but then I decided to go back and thats when I got my mule deer.Afterward, they took the deer to Hot Sulphur Springs for processing by a taxidermist. The meat and trophies will be sent back to his home in Ohio.Nathan said he called his mother, brother, stepsister and stepbrother to tell them the news.I just had to tell them about about the hunt and my experiences here, he said. This trip has really lived up to my hopes.With their hunt so quickly done, Nathan and his father stayed on in Kremmling until Wednesday morning when they left for the airport for their flight back to Ohio. Before leaving, they did some sighseeing and went back to Blue Valley Ranch to help do some ranch chores. They also ate in local restaurants like the Rocky Mountain Bar & Grill. The people around here are so friendly and its so pretty around here, Nathan said. I hate to leave, but maybe Ill be able to come back someday.Nathans father, Charles, who works for a company that manufactures truck caps in Ohio, also expressed his appreciation. I want to thank everyone in Kremmling who have been so nice to us, Charles said. It is a really great thing that Hunt of a Lifetime does for kids like this. Im thankful that I had this chance to come along and spend time with my son on this trip.Mike Yeary, who is Hunt of a Lifetimes Colorado Ambassador, helped arrange the Sanders trip and met them at the airport and accompanied them to Kremmling. This was Hunt of a Lifetimes second time in Kremmling, he said. Last year, a boy wanted to go on an elk hunt and we also went to Blue Valley Ranch.Requests by children with life-threatening illnesses for hunting trips to Colorado are increasing, Yeary said.Our Colorado chapter handled five last year, he said. This year, Nathans trip to Kremmling was one of nine that took place. The kids usually request an elk hunt, but some also want to hunt deer and antelope.Trips are funded through donations and free services generously provided by individuals, organizations and businesses.We want to thank the Kremmling Chamber, the Eastin Hotel and all the restaurants who donated food, he said. We really appreciate what they have done. Because Kremmling is such a great place, we plan to come back again next year. The organization was founded in 1999 by Tina Pattison, an Erie, Penn. school bus driver. Her 18-year-old son, Matthew, suffered from Hodgkins disease, and desperately wanted to hunt moose before he died.Pattison first sought help from the Make A Wish Foundation, which also works to help sick children. But her sons request was turned down because it involved hunting.The Pattison family was forced to find other means to get their son Matthew to Alberta, Canada where he took a trophy moose. He died of cancer a few months later in April 1999 after turning 19.After his death, the other bus drivers from Pattisons school district took up a collection and gave her $100 as a memorial gift. Tina Pattison took the funds and used them to begin Hunt of a Lifetime.For more information, about Hunt of a Lifetime, visit http://www.huntofalifetime.org.
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