Nineteen year old Bellamy and her sister, seventeen year old Savannah, both have Friedreich’s ataxia, a degenerative neuro-muscular disease. Both girls have failing hearts and are losing their mobility.
Though they are coping with a devastating illness, all they want is to experience as much joy as they possibly can.
When the girls heard about Ricochet, a SURFice Dog®, who surfs with veterans, people with disabilities and children with special needs, they knew they needed to meet her. They wanted the chance to experience the thrill of riding a wave, and Ricochet was the only one who could make that happen.
The girls couldn’t afford the trip to San Diego to surf with the pup. Ricochet and her human water-handler, Dave, started a fundraiser to cover the girls’ travel expenses. Within 24 hours, hundreds of kind humans made it possible for Bellamy and Savannah to surf with Ricochet.
Riding the waves was fun and games for the sisters, but Ricochet had serious work to do. The girls have very little body strength. It was important that Ricochet counter-balance the surfboard by staying behind each girl so that the board stayed afloat.
“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.”
Watch the videos below for footage of the three girls (Ricochet included) catching some rad waves.