Tamara Johnson was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of 8. Her dream was to “go out west and fly fish the Yellowstone River, wheelchair over a mountain pass and enjoy some Native American music with her family.
In August Tamara, Mom and Dad and her three sisters traveled to Montana for a five-day visit; a quest to make her dreams come true. She and her terrific family were blessed with great weather, great fishing and great sightseeing. All those who came in contact with Tamera and her wonderful family were blessed as well.
Montana Outfitters and Guides Association have created “Big Hearts Under the Big Sky”, a charitable program for children with life-threatening illnesses, breast cancer survivors and Veterans who’ve offered extraordinary service to our country. MOGA worked with Catch-a-Dream foundation to co-sponsor this extraordinary family trip.
The healing power of being out in the Montana wilds with family members who love you and in the care of professionals who ensure your safety and welfare is by itself extraordinary. Layer on to that a sense of service to others and a desire to give relief to families that have endured so much and you begin to understand the essence of the Big Hearts under the Big Sky program.
Tamera is a serious trout fisherman who loves to listen to Hank Williams Jr and loves being outside. During a day on the Yellowstone she and her Dad shared a boat and she caught some beautiful Montana fish. She and her Dad are definitely the true fishers in the family and although this was their first time fly fishing and the weather was a little tough by nearly any measure this day was pretty much perfect; right down to a terrific shore lunch prepared and served by a gourmet chief on the banks of the Yellowstone River.
The float on the Yellowstone was the culmination of a week’s worth of adventure for Tamara and family which included a personalized behind the scenes tour of Yellowstone Park with a retired University professor, some fantastic private pond fishing and a fireside dinner complete with Native American flute music. Tamera was presented a hand made flute as a gift from her new friends with MOGA and time stopped for a magic moment as she played the first notes that evening with her sisters keeping time on drums.
A lot of quality people came together on this trip. The Big Hearts program is unique in the Nation in the manner that the Outfitting industry works with established charities like Catch-a-Dream foundation. In service to others a great deal can be accomplished if no one cares about who gets the credit.
Tamera is a very special and courageous person. Her family has endured the emotional rollercoaster that defines the challenge of a life-threatening illness. Through it all though emerged a family whose love for each other and Tamera’s joy for simple experiences is without bounds. It is truly an honor and privilege to be part of a program that supports families like this. Tight lines Tamera!