This is one of the greatest 9-year-olds you'll EVER meet. Her name is Gina, and I was lucky enough to meet her, her brother, and her mom, this past summer while I was volunteering at a Best Day Foundation event at Camp Pendleton. My friend Judy brings her AMAZING dog, Surf Dog Ricochet (please Google Ricochet if you haven't heard of the fantastic work she does), to the Best Day events to meet the participants and make them smile--and smile they do!
But at this event there was a special connection made between Ricochet and Gina, who has been diagnosed with autism, and the result was Gina surfing with Ricochet--TOTALLY unplanned and totally inspirational! It was amazing to witness in person. :) Unfortunately Gina's Marine dad was in Afghanistan at the time, so missed the memorable event. Judy promised that when he was back home they would set up a surf date, so on New Year's Eve day, that is precisely what happened. Gina's dad finally got to see his girl surf tandem with Ricochet!
There were several media outlets at Del Mar dog beach that day, and when I saw Gina beaming with pride in an interview taking place just feet from me, I had to stop talking with her mom and start taping. I am so proud of this young lady for how well she handled herself, and how she remembered all about Best Day, but especially for her sweet and honest answer when the interviewer asked her how she'd describe her experience in the water. After a moment's thought, she replied assuredly, "I'm brave." Yes you are, Miss Gina, yes you are.
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