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SURF DOG RICOCHET MAKES DREAM COME TRUE FOR TWO TEENAGE SISTERS WITH SAME TERMINAL ILLNESS WHO WANTED TO SURF WITH HER!


“Even though I’m sick and dying, I don’t let it stop me from living my life.” ~ Bellamy

Last Wednesday, Ricochet surfed with 17 year old Savannah and 19 year old Bellamy Arterburn from Denver, Colorado. They both have the same terminal illness, Friedreich’s ataxia, a debilitating and degenerative neuro-muscular disorder with no treatment or cure. They traveled to San Diego to catch some waves with their favorite canine, as well as experience her paws-on healing.
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Photo Credit: Rachel Jones Photography

In the last few years, Bellamy and Savannah have begun losing the ability to move, had several spine surgeries, learned to live with a failing heart and tragically lost their mother to breast cancer. Despite everything they’ve been through, they stay strong, resilient and love everything about life.
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Photo Credit: Rachel Jones Photography

When they heard Ricochet is a SURFice dog® who surfs with people with disabilities, kids with special needs, wounded warriors and veterans with PTSD as an assistive aid and paws-on healer, it became their dream to surf with her. But, because of all the hardships this family has endured, they couldn’t afford a trip to San Diego.
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Photo Credit: Gilda Adler Photography

Ricochet’s water handler, Dave came up with the idea of Ricochet hosting a fundraiser to bring the girls to San Diego. Within 24 hours, the whole trip was funded! Ricochet’s Facebook fans, Scott and Sharon Brandstadt donated 100,000 Southwest Airline miles. Hotel Indigo, Del Mar donated a room. Ricochet’s FacebookTwitter and Instagram fans sent in cash donations to cover attractions, activities and dining.
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Photo Credit: Rachel Jones Photography

On the day of the surf session, Savannah and Bellamy arrived to the beach in wheelchairs. Their excitement was hard to contain.
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Photo Credit: Gilda Adler Photography

Each sister took a turn being helped from their chair into the ocean, and onto the surfboard by Ricochet’s team of big-hearted water helpers.

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Photo Credit: Gilda Adler Photography

In fact, 9 year old West, who has autism wanted to pay it forward from a surf session he had with Ricochet a few months prior. Having a child with special needs helping other kids with disabilities made it an even more magical occasion.

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Photo Credit: Rachel Jones Photography

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Photo Credit: Gilda Adler Photography

This was the first time the girls ever surfed, so safety was the first priority. It was made possible by the experienced and skilled water team.

Since the sisters have no body strength or muscle control, Ricochet positioned herself behind them to counter-balance the board and keep it afloat.  She gave them a chance to forget about their illness as they glided through several waves.

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Photo Credit: Gilda Adler Photography

Then, Donovan took his turn surfing with Ricochet and stood up on his very first wave. It was the first time in a long time this single dad could leave his worries behind for a few moments.

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Photo Credit: Gilda Adler Photography

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Photo Credit: Gilda Adler Photography

Their smiles, screams and laughter were filled with exhilaration. “I’ve always wanted to surf and then I found out about Ricochet and it made it more special. It just felt so good, like I was free”, Bellamy said.
Savannah fell in the water once, and exclaimed “that was so cool. It was actually really exciting”.

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While giving an interview to a news station, their father, Donovan had a huge smile on his face as he said “When Savannah fell off the board, I asked her if she needed to sit and rest, or did she want to go again. She said she was ready to go again!”

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Photo Credit: Gilda Adler Photography

Then, Donovan took his turn surfing with Ricochet and stood up on his very first wave. It was the first time in a long time this single dad could leave his worries behind for a few moments.

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Photo Credit: Rachel Jones Photography

 

 

Bellamy and Savannah said they felt a sense of empowerment, and also experienced Ricochet’s paws-on healing.

 

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Photo Credit: Rachel Jones Photography

This surf session was the epitome of the healing power of the ocean… and the healing power of a dog!

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Photo Credit: Rachel Jones Photography

 

Although surfing has been at the forefront of Ricochet’s work, it’s not the act of surfing that makes her interactions so life changing. It’s her powerful paws-on ability to make immediate, deep, heart-to-heart connections with the individuals she interacts with. She intuitively and empathically alerts to their emotional and physical changes, and then provides support and healing energy where it’s most needed.

 

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Ricochet was honored to make Bellamy and Savannah’s dream come true while raising awareness of Friedreich’s ataxia.  Now, we ask you to please get on board and join her by sharing this inspirational story of two sisters loving life in the face of adversity.

For more information,
http://www.surfdogricochet.com
https://www.facebook.com/SurfDogRicochet
https://instagram.com/surfdogricochet/

Ricochet’s book

And be sure to watch the videos of their memorable surf session below!

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About DavidSDSU (946 Articles)
I graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Media Studies. I am also the Founder and CEO of San Diego Sports Domination. I am award winning blogger and have been covering San Diego State Athletics and San Diego Sports for the past 6 years. I have blogged for FanSided 150 (Recruiting Website), FanSided's SDSU Site (Surf The Spear which is no longer online) and have written guest blogs on SDSU. I have been a guest on all San Diego Sports Radio stations ( ESPN 1700 San Diego, Mighty 1090 and Xtra Sports 1360). My articles have been linked to news websites all over the United States. I run this website in my spare time for fun. At my day job I am a Sports Social Media Editor for STN Digital a Digital Marketing Agency that works in the Sports & Entertainment Industry.

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