Community members in North Carolina pitched in to buy a 12-year-old boy with cancer a pontoon boat after the Make-A-Wish Foundation reportedly rejected his request.
Isaac Rodriguez has been battling brain cancer and Steven Johnson Syndrome, a rare skin disorder, over the past year, according to the boy’s GoFundMe page. Rodriguez asked the Make-A-Wish Foundation for a pontoon boat so he could enjoy his love of fishing and the outdoors.
Rodriguez’s wish was rejected due to rules restricting the size of the boat and engine, according to the GoFundMe summary. But Todd Willis, owner of Neuse River Bait and Tackle in Grantsboro, North Carolina, said he “immediately” began to fundraise after he heard Isaac’s wish couldn’t be granted.
Willis organized a GoFundMe campaign in February with a $30,000 goal to help grant Rodriguez’s “Wish 2 Fish,” as the boat was dubbed. The fundraiser has now collected more than $31,000 for the family, who are customers at Willis’s tackle shop.
This video shows Willis surprising Isaac with the pontoon boat on July 3 in Oriental, North Carolina.
Willis said Isaac and his family thought they would be riding on Willis’s boat to watch fireworks, but the boy was surprised with his own fishing boat instead. The surprise was organized by Willis and staff at Tideline Marine in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
Make-A-Wish America told Storyful they are working with the Rodriguez family to grant Isaac another wish.
“Make-A-Wish has policies in place to help ensure an equitable and safe experience for the children and families we serve throughout the country. Make-A-Wish is currently working with Isaac and his family to identify and grant a wish that will provide him the hope and healing of a wish come true,” the foundation said in a statement to Storyful. Credit: Neuse River Bait and Tackle via Storyful