Boy with cerebral palsy treated to fishing trip of a lifetime off Louisiana’s coast

Non-profit organization takes children with life-threatening illnesses on world-class outdoor adventures

Boy with cerebral palsy treated to fishing trip of a lifetime off Louisiana’s coast

VENICE, La. (WAFB) - Drew Chadwick has been dreaming of tuna fish for more than a year.

“We’ve never done anything more than just a little bit of inland bass fishing back home,” Curt Chadwick, of Higganum, Connecticut explains.

Drew, his dad Curt, and his grandfather are more than 25 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River with Paradise Outfitters.

Drew Chadwick, 11, of Higganum, Conn. waves at the camera during a deep-sea tuna fishing trip 25 miles off the coast of Venice, La. on April 17, 2019. The fishing trip was made possible by the Hunt of a Lifetime Foundation.
Drew Chadwick, 11, of Higganum, Conn. waves at the camera during a deep-sea tuna fishing trip 25 miles off the coast of Venice, La. on April 17, 2019. The fishing trip was made possible by the Hunt of a Lifetime Foundation. (Source: Nick Gremillion)

Reeling in a 40-pound tuna is something curt never thought he’d watch eleven-year-old Drew do.

“They told us he would never walk. He would never talk,” Curt explained.

Drew was born with cerebral palsy and even before he entered the world, he had a stroke.

“The first week was pretty rough. We spent a week in ICU. He was having seizures and that was really tough,” Curt said.

You’d hardly know it, watching him now.

Drew Chadwick talks with Paradise Outfitters Chater Captain Scott Leger during a deep-sea tuna fishing trip 25 miles off the coast of Venice, La. on April 17, 2019.
Drew Chadwick talks with Paradise Outfitters Chater Captain Scott Leger during a deep-sea tuna fishing trip 25 miles off the coast of Venice, La. on April 17, 2019. (Source: Nick Gremillion)

“When he hooked up on his first fish, he’s just grinning from ear to ear,” said John Graham, who helped organize the trip.

He’s part of the Hunt of a Lifetime Foundation, a group that sends kids and young adults with life-threatening illnesses on their dream trip.

“Those moments -- him cranking on that fish makes everything we do worthwhile,” John said.

A total of 14 tuna were caught during the 12-hour fishing trip. The family had so much fresh tuna they had to ship it all home to Connecticut.

A total of 14 tuna were caught during a deep-sea fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico on April 17, 2019, for Drew Chadwick, 11, of Higganum, Conn. The fishing trip was made possible by the Hunt of a Lifetime Foundation.
A total of 14 tuna were caught during a deep-sea fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico on April 17, 2019, for Drew Chadwick, 11, of Higganum, Conn. The fishing trip was made possible by the Hunt of a Lifetime Foundation. (Source: Nick Gremillion)
Drew Chadwick, 11, and his father Curt Chadwick, of Higganum, Conn. wait for the tuna they caught to be unloaded at the Venice Marina after a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico on April 17, 2019. The fishing trip was made possible by the Hunt of a Lifetime Foundation.
Drew Chadwick, 11, and his father Curt Chadwick, of Higganum, Conn. wait for the tuna they caught to be unloaded at the Venice Marina after a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico on April 17, 2019. The fishing trip was made possible by the Hunt of a Lifetime Foundation. (Source: Nick Gremillion)

The Hunt of a Lifetime Foundation was able to provide Drew and his family with this vacation due to donations from various donors including Southern Way Charters Lodge, Paradise Outfitters, Venice Marina, and Southern Hooker Fishing Charters.

John says the foundation helps children with life-threatening illnesses from Louisiana but most of them prefer to hunt big game animals, like deer and moose, out of state.

If you would like to make a donation to the Hunt of a Lifetime Foundation visit their website: https://huntofalifetime.org/.

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