A boat is sinking with four people aboard in the middle of 30-foot seas that are crashing into each other, spraying salt into the air and creating deep swells giving way to the sense of riding on an unstable roller coaster. Scenarios like this are what Coast Guardsmen prepare for.
Service members who are operational within the Coast Guard are expected to train rigorously for treacherous conditions or dangerous situations during the workday and on watch. For Coast Guardsman Lt. Adam Schmid, this is his career.
Schmid, an operations officer for Maritime Safety and Security Team Boston, has been in the service for nine years. His job responsibilities include oversight and directing operations including missions within maritime law enforcement, anti-terrorism, force protection and waterside security mission.
Schmid is also a husband and father of four. One could say he is prepared for many different scenarios. However, a challenging scenario revealed itself in October 2012 when his family discovered their 7-year-old son Thomas’ biopsy results confirmed he had mitochondrial myopathy, which ultimately led to Mitochondrial disease.
Mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90 percent of the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support growth. When they fail, less and less energy is generated within the cell. Cell injury and even cell death follow. If this process is repeated throughout the body, whole systems begin to fail, and the person’s life is severely compromised. The disease primarily affects children, but adult onset is becoming more and more common.
Last fall Schmid submitted an application to the Make-A-Wish foundation.
“So soon after I submitted Thomas’ information to “Make-A-Wish,” a wish team visited our home,” said Schmid. “When Thomas was asked what his wish was, he wished to take his whole family to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. From there, the Wish team took action and set up a trip to Orlando the week before Christmas 2013.”
Ultimately, the Schmid family visited all of the major Orlando theme parks creating memories that will last for generation.
“The trip was an opportunity for Thomas to do whatever he wanted and enjoy all the parks had to offer while his health is relatively good,” said Schmid. “As a family, we were able to forget about the stresses that we have dealt with over the last year and share moments that we will talk about the rest of our lives.”
While the entire family enjoyed the trip to all the theme parks it was especially significant for Thomas.
“The trip was more fun than art class and art class is wicked, wicked fun,” said Thomas.
From beginning to end the Make-A-Wish foundation enabled the Schmid family to step away from Thomas’ physical therapy treatments he goes through four times a week.
“We were blown away by the red carpet “Make-a-Wish” rolled out for us, from a limo ride to the airport to VIP passes to all the major Orlando theme parks.” said Schmid. “The genuine care for Thomas and the rest of the family by those who made this amazing trip possible was overwhelming. We can’t thank Make a Wish, Give children the World and the Orlando theme parks enough.”