My son, Skylar, was born with many challenges. His doctors and nurses did not think he was going to survive. Skylar the Fighter is now approaching 3 years old. He has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and is G Tube dependent. Skylar participates in 9-10 therapies each week (OT- feeding, PT- motor skills, Speech, Early Intervention and horseback riding therapy). My wife has dedicated the last couple of years to make sure that Skylar has all of the therapies he needs in order to thrive. My mother introduced us to A Walk on Water recently. We participated in our first surf therapy session in Ventura, Ca. We had the most amazing time at the event! It felt like a big happy family. Everybody in attendance was there for the same reason- allowing our special needs children the ability to have a great time in a wonderful beach setting with extraordinary instructors. AWOW was so welcoming from the moment we arrived to the registration tent. The volunteers, staff, and surf instructors were fabulous! We were on the wait list so we really didn’t know if Sky was going to have the chance to get out on the water. A couple spots opened up, lucky us! Sky was fitted for a wet suit and life jacket. I was very nervous to send our special needs kid into the ocean with someone I’ve never met before. We were guided to the North end of the beach to meet the surf instructors. Skylar was paired up with Anthony, who has been working with AWOW for approx 7 years. The surf boards appear to be longer than a typical long board and wider as well. Anthony assured us that Sky was in good hands. He is a very experienced surfer and that helped ease some of my anxiety. There were so many people in the water during the afternoon surf session. The safety crew wearing red rash guards seemed to be everywhere in the event someone fell off. Skylar and Anthony were in the water for about 60-75 minutes. We could tell that Sky was having so much fun. They caught 4-5 waves and Sky even stood up on the board with assistance. There’s an adrenaline rush that takes over when you watch your kid conquer the ocean on a surf board. It almost brought happy tears to our eyes. Special needs families struggle emotionally every day because life has not turned out the way we envisioned. Today we are all champions! Thank you AWOW for providing a safe place where dreams do come true. We have been on a “surf high” for a couple weeks now and are absolutely hooked. See you next time in Huntington Beach! Our family purchased a bunch of items from the merch tent in Ventura. We are so proud to wear AWOW gear in public. Thank you for giving us a memory we will never forget.

– Ryan