Eli’s Wish for a Pontoon Boat


Eli is a resilient, adventurous and incredibly caring 14-year-old. He loves sports, art and his dog Charger. He’s always loved baseball, but recently, playing on his competitive power wheelchair soccer team has been his favorite thing. Eli also loves being outside, exploring and spending time with his friends and family. One of his favorite things to do with them is fish.

Soon after Eli was born, he was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disorder. His parents knew immobility would come eventually, but it wasn’t until 2019 that Eli needed a wheelchair. Despite his circumstances, Eli has never complained about his condition. He has the most positive, inspiring attitude. Eli lives by the mantra “NOT. IF. BUT. HOW”, meaning it’s not a question of if he can do something, but how he can achieve it.

When thinking about his wish, Eli wanted something he could do with his family and friends. He is quite social, but he can’t always participate in everything they do. He wanted his wish to be something that would allow him to be involved in an activity in the same way as everyone else.

Eli wished to have a pontoon boat. He loved the idea of inviting his friends to the lake to fish. Pontoons are wheelchair-accessible, and Eli dreamed of easily casting his rod off the side of the boat and spending time with his friends.

On the day of the wish experience, Eli knew he was going to Cabela’s to see his pontoon boat, but he didn’t know there would be a few fun surprises waiting for him. Many of Eli’s friends and family came out to celebrate with him, along with members of the Allen County Fire Department! With the pontoon ready and fishing supplies from Cabela’s, Eli was ready to hit the water.

“I cannot thank you enough for a truly incredible and humbling experience this weekend! Everything was incredible,” his mom shared. “We had the greatest time out on the lake. I think Eli spent 7 hours on the water yesterday! What an incredible organization all around!”