Dream Catchers USA Grants Child’s Final Wish with Y.O. Ranch Adventures
They believed it was a long shot when 13-year-old Cody Adkins and his close friend and neighbor, 30-year-old Rusty Hill submitted their application to Dream Catchers, USA, a Tennessee-based organization that specializes in granting outdoor wishes for terminally-ill or disabled children. Adkin’s inoperable, malignant brain stem tumor and Hill’s disabilities made them eligible for the organization’s services. They had hopes that Dream Catchers would help them go on a final hunting adventure together. To their delight, Dream Catchers approved the application, and the wish would be granted during the first week of White-tailed deer season.
However, when Adkin’s tumor did not respond to radiation or Chemotherapy, the urgency to grant his wish grew drastically. Dream Catchers placed David “Doc” Autrey, the West Texas area representative, in charge of making the critical arrangements for the hunt. As an experienced hunting guide, Autrey knew that Adkin’s earliest chance to hunt would be exotic wildlife. Autrey contacted Y.O. Ranch Adventures, a division of the renowned Y.O. Ranch that specializes in outdoor education for children, who agreed to provide the hunt and guides for the Dream Catchers recipient. The Y.O. Ranch also provided lodging and meals for the group.
With the event planned, Cody Adkins, accompanied by his mother, father, brother and sister, and Rusty Hill accompanied by his son and fiancée joined Dream Catchers representatives on a flight to Texas provided at no charge by rock star and avid hunter, Ted Nugent.
Dream Catchers from April 5 through April 8, 2003 the group sought to harvest two of the more than 20 species of game available at the Y.O. Ranch. After several trips out to the bush, the group was becoming anxious that Adkins would experience the thrill of the hunt without the gratification of the harvest. The brain stem tumor created challenges for him, including impaired vision and limited mobility, however his determination in fulfilling his dream paid off. On the very last day of the hunt, Adkins, led by Y.O. Ranch Adventures guide, Ronny Rucker, fulfilled his dream of a lifetime when by shooting a Blackbuck Antelope doe.
Kenny Adkins is Cody’s father.“He’s (Rucker) a good one, and the patience he has with the kids is incredible. He’s the only one who has left my sight with Cody. Because of his background, I didn’t have to tell him about Cody’s problems. He just knew. He’s very good with kids,” said Adkins. “The staff at Y.O. Ranch Adventures is amazing and very polite, soft-spoken, and very wonderful. They were here for our every need.”Cody Adkin’s friend, Rusty Hill, also had a very successful experience with Y.O. Ranch Adventures, harvesting his first animals - a Texas Dall sheep and Fallow doe.
A number of companies assisted in making this a memorable weekend for both families. Kahles, Cabela’s, Browning, Mossy Oak, Justin Boots, and Remington provided supplies for the hunt. Adkins and Hill also received custom-made bowie knives. Kerrville Medical Equipment Supply provided motorized wheel chairs for Adkins and Hill during their stay at the Y.O. Ranch. In addition to the support from various companies, Texas’ own Governor Rick Perry even sent a signed proclamation making them honorary citizens of Texas.When they left the Y.O. Ranch, the group went to see the sights in San Antonio. The City of San Antonio along with Radisson Inns, Suites and Spas provided tickets to Sea World and a tour of the Alamo. The Tennessee natives will be riding in style with the rental car that was upgraded to a Lincoln Navigator by Hertz.
Dream Catchers Doc Autrey with Dream Catchers worked hard to make sure that the families had as many comforts as possible during their trip to Texas. “I look so forward to helping making this trip the greatest time of his life,” said Autrey as he was planning the trip.
For more information on Dream Catchers USA, visit DreamCatchersUSA.org or contact Nancy Copeland at (256) 757-5477.
For more information on the activities at the Y.O. Ranch, visit YORanchAdventures.com or YORanch.com.
Learn More about Cody @ B4K.org