For all the cancellations of sporting events that happened in 2020, a glimmer of hope for Ann’s Angels Adaptive Waterski Foundation popped up on Oct 22 when it was given the opportunity to grant a wish for a lady named MaryJane from Bradenton, Fla. The request to work with Wish of a Lifetime from AARP was made several weeks earlier, and the Angels worked hard on setting up sanctioning, volunteers, boats and officials all for MaryJane.
MaryJane, 79, grew up in the Midwest and had always wanted to learn how to water ski, but being a single mother, pursuing a career in education and working odd jobs, she never had the opportunity to do so. MaryJane and her friend Joyce had talked about things MaryJane wanted to do in life, and it was a regret that she had never learned how to water ski. Soon after learning her wish would be granted, the search was on for a suitable site and host.
MaryJane has had two knee replacements in recent years, requiring special assistance for her wish. A Wish Fulfillment Specialist from Wish of a Lifetime from AARP learned about Ann’s Angels adaptive water ski program, which recently had been granted permission to conduct small events by Polk County. With support and sanctioning from USA Water Ski & Wake Sports, the national governing body of organized water skiing in the United States, it was looking like MaryJane’s wish could be granted.
The day of the event, MaryJane and Joyce traveled by a private chauffeur in an SUV to Winter Haven for a late afternoon water ski run on the chain of lakes with the volunteers from Ann’s Angels. The Angels’ professional style and knowledge won the day, and with a little instruction, MaryJane was able to make two water ski runs on her own with full control around the lake fulfilling a lifelong dream to learn how to water ski. “I just can’t believe that it ever happened to me,” she said afterward. “It was something I always wanted. It’s always been there. It’s not easy at my age. I thought I wouldn’t get the chance to ever go. It is unbelievable to have something like this happen to you when you’ve given up.”