Alternative to "Make a Wish" For Hunting Trips of a Lifetime
by Michael Edwards
December 17, 2000
(with substantial content reprinted from www.huntofalifetime.org)
As many sportsmen and sportswomen are aware, about a year ago the Make-A-Wish
Foundation stopped permitting hunting trips as a "Trip of a Lifetime" for
terminally ill children.
A new organization has formed to allow terminally ill children to have a hunting trip
as their trip of a lifetime. So, if you are looking for a way to redirect your
tax-deductible donations for a similar purpose you need to check out www.huntofalifetime.org .
Established as a non-profit organization in August of 1999, Hunt of Lifetime is the
brainchild of Tina Pattison of Harborcreek, Pennsylvania. The Mission of Hunt of a
Lifetime is to provide terminally ill children and young adults the opportunity to fulfill
the hunting or fishing adventure of their dreams.
Tina Pattison's son, Matthew Pattison, had developed cancer (the form called Hodgkin's
disease). It was bringing to an end, it seemed, a dream of young Matthew's to go moose
hunting in Canada with his father, Chet Pattison. Early chemotherapy had seemingly
arrested the disease, but Matt suffered a relapse.
The family had already been dealing with the development of muscular dystrophy in
another child, and the realization was that Matthew's dream seemed out of reach,
especially considering the potential cost of such a guided hunt.
But Tina Pattison was determined to help Matthew reach his dream. She called the
Make-A-Wish Foundation. The voice at the other end of the line stunned Tina Pattison and
drove home the inhumanity of the animal rights movement. No, Make-A-Wish told her, they
could not help with such a hunt. They had done it once before and received a great deal of
harassment from "the animal rights people."
It was that part of the story that brought about the anger. A few years ago the
foundation had sponsored a hunt for a severely ill teen. The animal rights movement, a
small but vociferous and wealthy segment of our society, mounted a propaganda campaign
against the foundation.
When that story spread, hunters responded by donating to Make-A- Wish, with
Pennsylvania being one of the leading states in donations. Polite thank you letters were
received. It seemed to end there.
But one now has to suppose that the animal rights movement won. Terminally-ill
teenagers are denied their dream simply because it is not a wish to go to Disney World nor
to meet a famous celebrity. If their wish is a dream hunt of fishing trip, too bad, that's
not politically correct.
But the Pattison's were not to be denied. Tina mounted a telephone search for help,
which eventually led a Wyoming-based broker of hunting trips to telephone her. Safari
Outfitters told Tina they found an outfitter in Alberta, Canada, willing to donate a hunt.
The wife of the owner, it seems, had lost an arm to cancer.
The small village in which the Canadian outfitter was based contributed to the effort,
and Safari Outfitters supplied the airline tickets. The trip would cost the Pattison
Matt, however, took a turn for the worse. A stem-cell transplant was required. It would
be a difficult procedure, and the medical advice was to cancel the trip. Matt refused. He
told his mother he would not be denied this fulfillment she worked so hard to gain for
In the fall of 1998 Matthew went on his dream hunt with his father. And he got his
moose, a record book animal. The hunt was featured in a February 1999 issue of the Erie,
Pennsylvania Times-News, the major paper in Matthew's home area.
Two months later, in April, Matthew died.
His mother is not about to let his memory die. Determined to never again allow the
animal rights movement to deny any family a dream hunt or fishing trip for a terminally
ill child, the Pattisons formed an organization called "Hunt Of A Lifetime."
It is a fully licensed charity under Pennsylvania law. An attorney from Erie has
donated her legal services. The Erie General Electric Credit Union is the depository for
Contributions can be mailed to "Hunt Of A Lifetime," 6297 Buffalo Road,
Harbor Creek, PA 16421
Make-A-Wish won't do it, so we need to take care of our own. Do this in memory of Matt.