Alaska Smokejumpers Make-a-Wish Come True

When nine-year-old Jedidiah Lusk fell ill in February, the outgoing junior ski team member, dirt bike competitor, horse rider, and youngest son of former smokejumpers Scott (1981) and Cynthia Lusk (1987), learned he had an inoperable brain tumor. “It’s a gioblast multiformus. There’s 161 different kinds of brain tumors, and he has the most aggressive, meanest kind,” explains his father, Scott. A biopsy left Jedidiah partially paralyzed on his left side so he uses a wheelchair. Despite the intensive radiation and chemotherapy regimen, Jedidiah and his family are doing whatever they can to make every day count.

In June, Jedidiah said his wish was to be an Alaska Smokejumper. The Make-a-Wish Foundation worked with the Alaska Fire Service to sponsor a week-long adventure in July for Jedidiah and his family. They fl ew to Fairbanks, AK, from their home in Quincy, CA. Jedidiah completed Alaska Smokejumper Rookie Training, including participating on a training flight. The visit culminated in a jet boat ride on the Chena River to a rookie campout. Jedidiah talks often about his unforgettable journey to become an Alaska Smokejumper. Congratulations Jedidiah, Alaska Smokejumper Rookie Class of 2010!

For more information on Jedidiah, please visit http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/Jedidiahlusk . To view more photos, go to http://www.smokejumpers.com/gallery/v/Alaska-Fire-Season-2004/2010+Wildfires/2010July7-004_RT8b.jpg.html

Lusk family watch a practice jump at Nordale Road, Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by Mike McMillanJedidiah Lusk        Jedidiah tries on new jump jacket. Photo by Mike McMillan.

Jedidiah practices giving commands to smokejumper Togie Wiehl. Photo by Mike McMillan.     Lusk family and Alaska Fire Service pilot in front of Tanker 264. Photo by Mike McMillan