Cancer-survivor wins special hunts in N. Dakota, Montana
A young Pelican Rapids cancer survivor enjoyed a hunting trip of a lifetime—twice—this fall.
A pheasant trip to North Dakota in September, and a big game excursion.
At age 13, Keagan Nettestad has packed more outdoor adventure into a few months than many—in a lifetime.
A cancer survivor for about a decade, the Pelican student was accepted by the The Outdoor Adventure Foundation, for several experiences in the great outdoors. In addition to the fall hunting, he fished through the ice last winter and on the open water last summer—at the Lake of the Woods, courtesy of the Foundation. His big game excursion resulted in an elk, a mule deer buck, and a wild turkey.
The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) based in ND providing hunting and fishing adventures for children under the age of 18 and young adults under the age of 25 with cancer and other life threatening illness. The organization also offers opportunities to disabled veterans of the Armed Forces.
“The organization is amazing…it does so much for so many kids,” said Ellie Nettestad, Keagan’s mother. She was introduced to the Foundation through family friend and nurse, Tammy (Westby) Johnson—who was Keagan’s nurse as he went through extensive chemo therapy at Sanford when he was barely a toddler. A tumor in his lungs was discovered when he was only two, which prompted about eight rounds of chemo treatments over a six month period. He is “cancer free,” but requires annual check-ups and exams.
A budding outdoors-person, the Pelican eighth grader also participates in the school’s target shooting program
“It really was amazing to get a big game hunt, and three animals in one trip,” said Ellie. Enjoying the experience with Keagan was his younger brother Preston, 12, and his aunt Lindsay Nettestad.
“Lots of smiles on our annual Outdoor Adventure Foundation pheasant hunt with George Berger at Baldhill Creek Adventures! Plenty of pheasants for all of our recipients from North Dakota and Minnesota as they enjoy a fun time with no worries about ailments or treatments,” stated the Outdoor Foundation in an online posting.
“You could say he had a hunting trifecta,” continued the Foundation post. “He was able to harvest a Merriam’s tom turkey, a mule deer buck and a cow elk all in the same weekend.”
The big game adventure was hosted at O’TIWAHE Ranch in Montana.
The Outdoor Adventure Foundation was established in 2009. It has provided hunting, fishing, and other outdoor adventures, including Disney World and NASCAR trips to more than 4,000 recipients.
There are two chapters in North Dakota and Minnesota and one chapter each in South Dakota, Nevada, Florida, and Washington.
In addition to a backpack full of memories, Keagan brought home an unusual momento: Elk teeth. According to mom Ellie, the elk is rather distantly related to the elephant, so the teeth are actually a form of ivory—just like an elephant tusk.