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Cool on the Water: A Wish Kid Reflects

Bryce wished for a bass-fishing boat

“ The nice thing about fishing ... everything else seems to disappear. ”

- Bryce

“The nice thing about fishing,” Bryce tells me over the phone on a Sunday morning, “is that with fishing, everything else seems to disappear.” He pauses for a moment before he adds, “You can pretty much fish anything away.”

I know what he means: Nestled in those Pennsylvania hills, nothing is quite as serene as getting lost out on a boat, luring up pike and smallmouth bass. Even at a young age, Bryce knew that these small pleasures were what made life worth living. When he was diagnosed with cancer, he wasn’t even a teenager. But when it came to facing his condition, Bryce had the right mindset. “Making it through cancer is all about keeping your spirits up and staying positive,” he says. “Make-A-Wish was a big part of that.” So, at the most unnerving time of his life, Bryce wished for a form of freedom. He wished for a fishing boat. “Cancer was life changing to say the least … it was an awful feeling,” he says, “But then there was this wish granted – this one thing. It was just remarkable.”

Bryce had purposely scheduled his wish day for after he had finished his chemo sessions. This way, while he was in the hospital, there was something for him to look forward to even on his most difficult days. These days, Bryce is healthy, but he’s still setting goals for himself and approaching them with determination. Recently, Bryce completed a four-year degree in Professional Golf Management, and he’s also been busy chasing his dream to be a PGA pro – he’s making good on his promises, too. He works as the assistant golf pro at Trump National Golf Course in Washington, D.C., and is hard at work everyday. He says that he loves his job, and he still fishes as much as he can. “The Potomac runs right through the course,” he says. I ask him what it is that motivates him to pursue golf professionally. “Golf and fishing are one in the same,” he says coolly over the phone, “Everything just disappears.”

Bryce recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of his last chemo session, and he couldn’t be more grateful. He talks a little more about his golf plans before revealing his biggest goal: To become a head pro and host a charity golf event for Make-A-Wish. “Ten years have gone by and I’m ready to give back,” he explains, “Whenever you have something to look forward to, you go after it. This is what I have to look forward to now.”

Bryce wished for a bass-fishing boat

Story and interview by Kevin Hanlon, former Maker-A-Wish intern

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1 Comment

Joan Bogus

Bryce, this brings tears to my eyes! I remember coming to your house to teach you when you couldn't be in school. You were always so positive about everything. I remember being there when the fishing boat arrived. I was honored that your parents asked me to be there for that special event. The fact that you are planning to give back to Make-a-Wish makes me so proud to have known you. I wish you luck in everything you do. I am so happy that you are doing so well. You will always hold a special place in the heart of this middle school teacher!

May 20, 2015 - 7:31 AM