PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Kenny Rikard is a six-year stomach cancer survivor who long had a dream of skydiving. With a newfound appreciation for life and in celebration of his 61st birthday, the South Florida native’s wish came true.
Thanks to Debbie’s Dream Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about and curing stomach cancer, last month, Rikard jumped out of a Cessna 182 four-seater flying at 10,000 feet. The entire event, from the training to the jump, lasted about 40 minutes and took place at Palm Beach County Glades Airport.
Rikard’s mom, Toby Friedman, watched and cheered from solid ground.
“My son found DDF when he was looking for an organization that dealt specifically with stomach cancer,” she said. “It brings people together from all over the world, and you can find compassion, understanding, inspiration, hope, and learn that you’re not alone in this fight against stomach cancer.”
Born deaf and the youngest of four kids, Rikard was diagnosed in 2014 with stage one stomach cancer. Following several rounds of chemo and a total gastrectomy, he can now eat and do almost anything he had done before.
In partnership with BeiGene, the Debbie’s Dream Miracle Fund aims to grant more wishes to stomach cancer patients and their families in an effort to create lasting memories.
Rikard says he is particularly proud to have had this experience and to help spread awareness about this disease during Stomach Cancer Awareness Month.