Derby awards ceremony was the answer to a prayer (Part 3)

By Nelson Sigelman

Wish came true

Brendan Duhaime, 7, of Bolton has trouble walking and standing. That is why his dad had to help him up on stage Sunday. But the brain cancer that was diagnosed last November and is robbing him and his family of so much has not taken away his love of fishing.

Kevin Lord of Bolton served on his town's conservation commission with Brendan's dad Scott. Kevin, a longtime Vineyard visitor, has followed the Duhaime family's battle on Brendan's blog (available at and was aware of the young boy's love of fishing.

"It popped into my head that he is such a fanatical fisherman and the biggest thing around is the Derby," Scott told me in a telephone call. "And I was going down there, so I thought, let's see if we can get him down."

A shore fisherman, Scott needed to find a charter boat that was kid-friendly. A friend with a house on East Chop put Scott in touch with Cooper "Coop" Gilkes, Derby committee member and tackle shop owner. "We'll take care of him," Coop assured Scott.

Coop called Derby president and charter captain Ed Jerome. Last Wednesday, Brendan, Scott, and Kevin met Coop and Ed at Derby headquarters where they gave him a hat, tee-shirt and pin. Artist Ben McCormick gave Brendan an album of his fish art. Then they went fishing.

"This is the perfect place to bring a little kid who loves fishing," Scott said. "And where else in the world are you going to bring somebody where everybody just about is fishing. I thought this would be perfect for him. I thought of it as a little Derby make-a-wish."

On Sunday Brendan's wish came true.