Wish kid Isaac was born a fighter. In his seven short years, he has undergone three heart surgeries, recovered from three strokes and has spent countless days in the hospital. Isaac suffers from a condition called Hypo-Plastic Right Heart Syndrome, a rare life-threatening condition that involves an underdeveloped ventricle not transferring the proper amount of blood to the right atrium to the heart. His most recent surgery was difficult, but planning and dreaming about his wish helped speed through his recovery.
His passion for helicopters began when he was recovering from one of his many surgeries. His hospital room overlooked the helipad and he was fascinated with seeing injured people being transported to the hospital for their very own medical emergencies. Isaac’s passion for helicopters and helping people grew and he began planning his future as a United States Coast Guard man.
Luckily for Isaac, a local training base for the Coast Guard was located in Elizabeth City, NC near the Outer Banks. When the Coast Guard heard about Isaac’s wish, they were delighted and very excited to show him the life of a military man! This was the first experience for most of the crew to help grant a wish, and they were determined to make it an adventure Isaac would never forget. The local Zaxby’s decided to enhance the wish by hosting an incredible send-off party and even sent a professional film crew to document Isaac’s entire wish experience.
After months of planning, Isaac’s wish weekend finally arrived. At the air station, he met Coast Guard helicopter pilots and crew in preparation for his flight. Isaac was presented with a personalized flight suit adorned with patches and his newly issued rank – all of which was created by hand and took over 18 hours to design. He was now an official part of the team! This was just the start to his incredible weekend. A few of the amazing activities that were planned for him included indoor water training, a picnic with the staff and a helicopter tour of the coast. During the course of his training, Isaac also learned how to identify the equipment and the proper lingo to use when communicating with his fellow crew members.
During Isaac’s coastline tour, the helicopter received an emergency distress call over the radio. Isaac’s eyes were glued to the water until he saw the swimmer. “I see him! I see him!” “That’s not what we say - what do we say Isaac?” asked Petty Officer 2nd Class Roderick Ansley, the crew’s rescue swimmer. “Oh yeah, mark, mark, mark,” exclaimed Isaac. The helicopter flew to the swimmer and was able to use the basket to rescue him. They brought the swimmer (who also happened to be a crew member who volunteered to be rescued) back to shore. Upon arrival, Isaac was greeted with a cheering crowd and the stations commanding officer welcomed him back and presented him with a set of naval aviator wings which he delightfully added to his new suit.
Over the course of the weekend, Isaac received three honorary degrees in the aviation fields by the school’s commanding officer. This was a life-changing moment for him. “All of this was amazing. The Coast Guard went above and beyond everything that we thought or could dream would happen,” said Isaac’s father. “Everybody was wonderful, and this has just been a great experience and the time of his life.”