BLACKFOOT, Idaho (KIFI) - On Sept.15, Make-A-Wish Idaho sent 14-year-old Ryker of Blackfoot to Hawaii to grant his wish to go snorkeling with sharks.
Ryker, who has cystic fibrosis, has been described by his mother, Kim, as a ‘bit of an adrenaline junky.’
When researching wish options, Ryker saw photos online of a wish kid swimming in a cage surrounded by sharks, and he knew what he wanted.
“I love sharks,” Ryker wrote to Make-A-Wish Idaho. “And it would be so awesome to see them up close and be in the water with them, but in a protective cage.” Although cystic fibrosis can cause breathing problems, Ryker’s doctor cleared him for the activity.
Ryker and family experienced a cage-diving shark tour just off the coast of Oahu. During the tour, a cage is lowered into shark-infested waters and divers can view the sharks (mostly Galapagos and sandbar sharks) and other marine life from the safety of the cage. While in Hawaii, Ryker and his family also rode ziplines over the jungle canopy and attended a luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center. The family returned safely to Idaho last week.
“Swimming with sharks was awesome! Ryker said it was everything that he’d hoped for! And the people who run the operation were really great too. This feels like the trip of a lifetime for our family, and we are so grateful,” Kim said.
Ryker’s wish was sponsored in part by the Idaho Farm Bureau’s annual golf tournament in Pocatello which raised $24,000 for wishes throughout the state.