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Surfing Superheroes to the Rescue
April 25, 2014 9:34 PM   Subscribe

AJ Lindner, a 6-year-old fan of Spider Man and other superheroes, recently underwent surgery for brain cancer. Facing the start of chemotherapy, which requires him to keep out of the water, the avid young swimmer had one wish: he wanted to go surfing. But the waters off Long Island were too cold. After a plea for a child-sized wetsuit went out on Facebook, a “Justice League” of surfers went to work to fulfill the boy’s dream.
posted by etaoin (14 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
So. What defines America as a culture, what makes its military so mighty, its economy so robust? When it's done and past, what is the one nice thing people can manage to say about it, and miss it when it's gone?

We're all in this together. No one, no matter how small and weak, gets left behind.

Take note, fellow Americans. This isn't where we're at, but it's where we're fighting to be. One little wetsuit at a time.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:48 PM on April 25 [14 favorites]


This is one of those times that I wish surfing wasn't viewed as such a "privileged" sport. Yes, I admit it requires some things that are tough to come by without some money; but the payoff, when you can take a kid surfing who's never ridden a wave, that's fooking amazing. This is truly a case of some humans doing exactly the right thing at exactly the right time. I wish the lad nothing but the best of luck.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 10:41 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


While it is lovely that this boy has a wish fulfilled, and that people were kind enough to go to such measures for him, part of me wonders if we took all the time, money and effort that go in to stunt 'wish fulfillment' like this and people instead put it in to less facebook friendly efforts to do with fund-raising, campaigning and hospice care if we could not benefit the lives of not just one little kid but a large pool of people. But I guess that is not as cute/headline worthy.

It is as though even our caring for others now has to be a stunt to repost on social media.
posted by Megami at 12:47 AM on April 26 [6 favorites]


Take note, fellow Americans

Make that "fellow Humans" - a huge number of countries have at least one make-a-wish foundation, and often much more than one. And the better ones explicitly state on their site that they don't actively solicit money.

I see what you mean, Megami, but the better ones are above that.
posted by DreamerFi at 3:11 AM on April 26


While it is lovely that this boy has a wish fulfilled, and that people were kind enough to go to such measures for him, part of me wonders if we took all the time, money and effort that go in to stunt 'wish fulfillment' like this and people instead put it in to less facebook friendly efforts to do with fund-raising, campaigning and hospice care if we could not benefit the lives of not just one little kid but a large pool of people. But I guess that is not as cute/headline worthy.

I'm not aware of a shred of evidence of this either way, but my guess would be that seeing things like this has a positive effect on people's willingness to give to charity and the like.
posted by dsfan at 5:09 AM on April 26 [2 favorites]


The article doesn't portray this as some herculean effort. One guy spent a day locating a child-sized wetsuit. Another gathered some swag and a couple more took some pictures.

As for the publicity, generating buzz and driving people to a GoFundMe site seems like a good way to leverage social media.
posted by jquinby at 5:30 AM on April 26


It is as though even our caring for others now has to be a stunt to repost on social media.

But that's not what happened at all. What happened was, there was a little boy who was dying and wanted to go surfing, and that was complicated. So via word of mouth, a bunch of people busted ass to make this happen. There was no promise of media exposure for these people. They were just being decent human beings. Yes, one of them filmed it, so that years from now, after that little boy is dead his family can remember him being happy.

Yes, sure someone in the press wrote a story about it, and that reporter did her job: she went out and talked to the people that did this, but I see no indication that these people expected to be venerated. They did something good.

So the only person who made this a media thing was the reporter. Do you really think she should stop being a reporter and go, what, volunteer in a hospital for sick kids? Or that the people she interviewed should have said "I don't have time to talk to you, I MUST SAVE MORE CHILDREN."

When I read these stories, it makes me feel better about people in general. It makes me want to emulate these people who go out of their way to do something good, with no expectation of repayment or anything. I would imagine it does the same thing for a lot of the people who read about these people. If even one of us then goes out and volunteers to help less fortunate people, or hell, just drops a dollar in the homeless guy's hand, or whatever, is that not worth it?
posted by nushustu at 5:32 AM on April 26 [12 favorites]


I think that, partly at least, a lot of the children that get helped by these things, they're dying. There's not much else that can be done except make sure they enjoy the very, very short life they have available. As easy as it is to point out how much effort goes into these 'stunts' for the most part, this is being done for kids that aren't going to be magically healed by the efforts of people who are able to locate a wetsuit. I, myself, am not going to find the cure for cancer. I doubt anyone in this thread is about to, either. What I can do, what you can do, what Adrean Payne and the MSU basketball team can do, what WWE and the like can do is to make a short, painful life more enjoyable than it otherwise would be.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:54 AM on April 26 [3 favorites]


Or, what nushutsu said, better than I did.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:55 AM on April 26


part of me wonders if we took all the time, money and effort that go in to stunt 'wish fulfillment' like this and people instead put it in to less facebook friendly efforts to do with fund-raising, campaigning and hospice care if we could not benefit the lives of not just one little kid but a large pool of people.--Megami

Why the word 'instead'? Why not both? In fact, the exposure helps encourage fund raising.
posted by eye of newt at 6:09 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


I like that the video is titled "Aaron's First Surf Lesson." I hope it's the first of many.

He is so young. His parents are so young.
posted by sockermom at 6:43 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


You do what you can, when you can, where you can.

Rock on, little dude.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:19 AM on April 26 [4 favorites]


Megami: do you think that cynicism is going to motivate people to actually get involved in those other activities? It seems far more often it simply encourages passive negativity. nushustu's optimistic take seems a lot healthier: I'd bet that more than a few of the people who saw this wondered if they could help with something similar – all they need is the followup helping to connect them to local people who need the help.
posted by adamsc at 9:49 AM on April 26


This reminded me of the post last year about the kid whose wish was to have his youth soccer team play the Portland Timbers.

I hesitated googling for fear of a sad ending -- but hey, he's doing great.
posted by Hlewagast at 8:45 PM on April 26 [1 favorite]


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