Posted on Thursday, Mar 10, 2022 by Phil O'Bryan, Marya Morgan

(Air1 Closer Look)  -- “When a family has a child with a life-threatening or terminal medical condition, everyone in that family suffers,” says Dr. Marty Brunson, avid outdoorsman and founding board member of the Catch-A-Dream Foundation. The charity provides all-expense paid trips for kids who crave outdoor adventure. “Our job is to give them that opportunity to have what one child once called, a ‘vacation from being sick’-- he said, ‘when I’m huntin’ and fishin’ I don’t really feel bad.”

Since 1999, Catch-A-Dream has taken more than 740 children from their hospital beds to lakes and woods for sportsman trips. The entire family is included. “We’re more than just a travel agency, we’re a change agency: we are a relief agency,” which plans every detail of the child’s chosen adventure. Certified CAD volunteer hosts go on every trip and handle every detail.  Each trip costs $4,500-$5000. Flights, lodging, gear, licenses to hunt or fish are all covered. “Mom and Dad can just take that deep breath and enjoy the experience with their child.”

Boy and man hold up giant deep sea fish
[Photo Credit: Catch -A-Dream Foundation]

“A mule deer hunt in Wyoming, that’s gonna be totally different than a whitetail hunt in Pennsylvania, which is totally different than a shark-fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico,” Brunson explains. One little girl asked Catch-A-Dream if they would take her fishing for a mermaid – and while she did not snag a lady-of-the-sea, the girl’s mother spoke of the power of that experience at her daughter’s funeral a few months later. “We’d had the opportunity to give her and her family not just a rest from being sick, but express to them and give them a reason to wake up tomorrow and to realize there is hope…the hope in the Creator who put all these resources here for us to enjoy. And He may have even made a mermaid,” Brunson says with a laugh. “We just haven’t found one yet.” 

Catch-A-Dream was specifically founded as a Christ-centered organization weaving the message of God’s love and salvation into everything they do. “Ultimately there’s only one guarantee in life,” reminds Brunson, “and it comes from our Creator and His son, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Relying on the Bible verses from Isaiah 40, they endeavor to infuse hope. The verse “talks about soaring on eagle’s wings … even your children with grow tired and weary...but those that hope in the Lord will renew their strength.”

“We chose that theme to share with these children and families, in the context of the outdoors, and a low-pressure environment where they can simply see the gospel being lived.” 

Excited boy holds fishing pole,  assisted by CAD guide while family looks on
[Photo Credit: Catch -A-Dream Foundation]

Dr. Brunson is not only an outdoor sports enthusiast, he earned advanced degrees in biology, fisheries and aquaculture. “I never dreamed that one day I’d have the opportunity to take the resources knowledge that I had as a scientist… and make a true difference -- both temporary and eternal --we’d like to think, in the lives of hurting children.”

Dr. Brunson of Catch-A-Dream

 

 

 

 

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