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Hunt of a Lifetime

Making dreams come true!

Below is a research paper that I wrote about Hunt of a Lifetime for my English class. I'd like to share it with everyone. I hope you find it as interesting to read as I found it interesting to research.


Thesis statement: Hunt of a Lifetime is a non-profit organization. It was created to grant the final wishes of children with life threatening illnesses. The children can choose either a dream hunt or fishing trip.

I.                    Hunt of a Lifetime

A. What is it?

B. How was it formed?

C. Matthews Legacy

II          Obstacles

A.      Obtaining Sponsors

B.       Fund Raising

C.      Guides/Outfitters

D.      Pressuresfrom anti-hunting groups

III.       Getting the word out

A.     Finding the kids

B.     Media Coverage

C.     How it benefits children







Donna Blair

Professor Rita Quillen

English 111

Nov. 14, 2002

Hunt of a Lifetime: Making Dreams Come True


Hunt of a Lifetime is a non-profit organization. It was created to grant the final wishes of children with life threatening illnesses. The children can choose either a dream hunt or fishing trip. Some of the obstacles Hunt of a Lifetime has had, has been in getting the word out to the public. As a result, Hunt of a Lifetime could not help the children, could not obtain sponsors & outfitters, or even get fundraising events started without publicity.

My cousin, Tina Pattison, founded Hunt of a Lifetime in 1999. Tina's heart has always been as big as the whole outdoors and has always held a soft spot for children- particularly those in need. Tina's journey began with her stepson Matthew, who was diagnosed with Hodgkins disease. Matthew approached Make-A-Wish Foundation with his request of a moose hunt. At that time, Make-A-Wish no longer granted hunts, and they were not informing the public as such. In Matts case, they denied him saying that he did not meet the age requirements. Matthew was nineteen and the foundations cut off age limit was eighteen. Most shockingly, was the news that Make-A-Wish would no longer grant any requests that involved the use of firearms. They claimed it was for safety reasons. The real reason was that there was a heavy animal rights pressure on the organization for allowing youngsters to go on hunting trips. Undaunted by Make a Wishs denial of Matthews hunt, Tina was determined to see him go on his hunt. She began making phone calls. The first call was to Safari Club International, Pittsburgh, PA chapter. Safari Club then contacted a Wyoming outfitter who had connections with outfitters in Canada. (Pattison) Clayton Grosso of Grossos Outfitters resided in Nordegg, Alberta stepped forward and went to the townsfolk. This entire town turned itself upside down in an effort to help Matthew go on his hunt. Donations of food, a helicopter, grain for packhorses, and a satellite phone were made available for this hunt. A paramedic took a week off of work to accompany Matt on his hunt in the event of an emergency. Matt had been through chemotherapy treatments recently. Because of this, he was unable to clot blood; therefore, the smallest of scratches could have proven deadly to him. The first day of the hunt, Matthew and his guide Gene spotted a good bull. Gene called the bull in and Matthew harvested his bull in two shots. The bull had a fifty six-inch spread. The anticipation of the hunt kept Matt going through many months of pain. His mother states, He kept saying, Ill be all right because Im going on that moose hunt. (Patterson)

It was a mere six months later that Matthew died of heart and liver failure following what would be his last albeit massive chemo-therapy session. Matthews death was a terrible loss for Tina and Chet, but the folks who attended Matthews funeral saw to it that his life would have meaning. Tina is a bus driver for Iroquois School District, and her co-workers all chipped in to give one hundred dollars to Tina. They wanted it to be used as a memorial for Matthew. Those first one hundred dollars is how Hunt of a Lifetime was born. The money was used to pay a one time fee for their Pennsylvania non-profit license. Following this, she had to come up with five hundred dollars for the one time fee for a Federal non-profit license. (Pattison) Tina wanted to see to it that other parents did not go through what she did. I dont want anyone whose child is sick to have to go through the headaches I did. (Hunt of a Lifetime) During all this time, word was beginning to get out and money started coming in. Once the publicity began getting out, Tina found it quite easy to secure the help of outfitters, sponsors, and donations from all over. Archery clubs have put on 3-D shoots; muzzleloader clubs have put on reenactments; and there have been fundraising dinners to help raise money for the children. (Pattison) In a recent interview, Tina explained what the biggest obstacles were for the foundation and what could be done to overcome this. Her response was, We have to get the word out more than it is. We cant help the kids if they dont know we exist. In another interview, this time with James, the same questions were asked. His response was quite different from his mothers. James felt the biggest obstacle had been the animal rights activists contacting them. When they call, we use logic stating a dying child shouldnt be denied his or her last wish just because they want to go hunting. Weve had a few who thought about that, and agreed with us that it was wrong to deny the last wishes of a dying child. (Pattison)

Another obstacle that Tina had to overcome was her computer illiteracy to which she turned to James. James had to begin with the absolute basics as he states:

Mom didnt know the on button from the z button when we started. I had to go slow and teach her how to walk before she could run. Its not uncommon for Mom to holler upstairs for me to show her why the screen looks funny. But shes come a long way in 3 years. (Pattison)

 Indeed she has! She is the main contact person with Hunt of a Lifetime. She is the one to coordinate the hunts; attend gun shows, expos, and fundraisers; and hold interviews telling anyone who wants to know about the foundation and what they are all about. James often accompanies his mother on these trips. When he is there, he will help with passing out fliers, manning the booth, and telling people about the foundation and how they help the children. (Pattison)

Tina has drawn the assistance of some big names in the hunting industry to help the cause. Some of her sponsors are Gander Mountain, Larry Csonka, Ted Nugent, Bushnells, Moultrie Feeders, Ron Schara, NWTF, Canon Game Calls, Cabelas, Safari Club International, Whitetails Unlimited, NRA, and Mossy Oak. Gander Mountain donates unlimited shopping sprees. Larry Csonka has featured Hunt of a Lifetime on four of his television shows. Ted Nugent has guided at least two of the kids on hunts. Bushnells, Secrets of the Hunt has provided no cost commercials as well as guiding one hunt. Ron Schara has a television show called Ron & Raven that has featured Hunt of a Lifetime. He has also guided a hunt for one of the kids. Cabelas has donated items for the hunters in preparation of their hunt. NWTF has several chapters that have guided hunts. Mossy Oak has donated clothing for the hunters. Canon Game Calls and Moultrie Feeders have both guided hunts as well. On top of all these sponsors, Tina has four hundred forty seven plus outfitters worldwide at her disposal to contact for services when the need arises. Largely, it is dependant upon what and where the child wants to hunt as to whom she calls. With representatives in the following nineteen states and two Canadian provinces: Manitoba, Ontario, Maine, Indiana, Illinois, Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, word is definitely getting out. (Pattison) Since its founding in 1999, Tina states, The foundation has done far better than our wildest imagination. If it hadnt been for my sponsors, club fundraising events, outfitters, and the generosity of the donations, none of this would be possible. (Pattison)

The hunts are very beneficial to the children as they have a psychological effect of healing. The kids get a break from the monotony of various medical treatments and procedures. They get to go and spend time enjoying the outdoors, and in some cases, forget about being sick for a little while. Christine Manning saw the changes in her son. Andrew had a disease that caused blood vessels to branch off and grow rapidly in his right thigh. He had five surgeries within a seven-month period of time. On Andrews elk hunt he shot a seven hundred pound bull elk. He had been immobile on the couch, and you should have seen him shoot down the tree stand, she says. He ran to the animal on pure adrenaline, I guess. (Hunt of a Lifetime) (Two corrections to this article were sent in an email)

 Then there was Justin, a 14 year old from Ohio. Justin was battling a form of Hodgkins disease. His mother, Kim, contacted Hunt of a Lifetime to see if a hunt could be set up. Tina set up the hunt for Dec. 2001 at Paradise Outfitters in Somerset. In the time before Justins hunt, something miraculous happened. He beat Hodgkins! Hes clean. The doctor said a lot of it was positive attitude. (Kirik 1D+)

Matthew Pattison died at the age of nineteen. But because of his illness, he will continue to live on by way of the foundation that was started by his stepmother. As a result, Matthew continues to touch the lives of others as his foundation grants hunting and fishing trips to children who want nothing more than a trip outdoors to look forward to and remember for the rest of their lives.



Works Cited


 Hunt of a Lifetime. Wall Street Journal 18 Dec. 2000: B17A Factiva. Wampler Library, Mountain Empire Community College, Big Stone Gap, VA. 24 Oct. 2002 < >

Kirik, Jeff. Last Wish. Erie Times-News 07 July 2002: 1D+.

Patterson, Gregg. Fulfilling Sporting Dreams for Kids Sports Afield 01 Feb. 2001: 224:2 Wampler Library, Mountain Empire Community College, Big Stone Gap, VA. 24 Oct. 2002 < >

Pattison, James. Telephone interview. 23 Oct. 2002.

Pattison, Tina. Telephone interview 20 Oct. 2002

Pattison, Tina. Corrections. E-mail to the author. 04 Nov. 2002.