Special Place with a Special Parent

South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Occasionally, the importance of a moment becomes even more important with time. During my studies in Phoenix, I was fortunate to visit the Grand Canyon several times. The first time is always special, and I was excited to see my mom’s expression the first time she stepped to the rim. My mom’s not much of a “smiler,” but you could see she was genuinely happy. The perspective and power of this national park and landmark are always so spectacular and difficult to put into words.

Even so, this would later be even more special for me. Shortly after our trip, which also included stops in Sedona and Flagstaff, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. It turned out to be one of our last adventures and photos together. The picture might not stack up against the work of Ansel Adams, but it’s an important one in my scrapbook of life.

After she passed, I took her dream trip (Australia) without her and found my calling in a shark cage down under. It inspired me to start a charity, which helps other cancer patients/survivors with their own bucket list adventures. Maybe, one day, I’ll get to share a moment at the Grand Canyon with some of them.

Growing up with the flat landscape and flowing waters of Florida, we were always more of an ocean-loving family, but this is one picture, place, and person that I will always remember and treasure.


  1. Brandon, thank you for sharing that experience with your mother and how that brief moment of time changed your life. Please post in the comment section about your charity; it sounds like a “Make-A-Wish” Foundation for grown-ups? What a noble endeavor this is.
    I recall spending time with my father before his first heart attack as we climbed Mt. San Jacinto. Though he recovered, it was the last hike we shared together due to his declining health.
    Next time I am in the Grand Canyon, I will tip my hat to your mother. It is good to remember those special people in our lives and special places shared.

  2. Great adventure to remember Brandon! So glad that the two of you were able to share that experience. I lost my father in 1997 and really never had a chance to share the things I enjoy in the outdoors with him. It’s special that you were able to do that. Thanks for sharing this story.

  3. Thanks so much for the compliments and support, and I’m sorry to hear of your losses also. I would love for people to check out Fin Forward on Facebook (www.facebook.com/finforward) or Twitter (@finforward) and/or my or profile @b22squared. We are similar to Make a Wish…on adrenaline! Our specialty is shark diving but we want to also do things like sky diving, whale watching, jet packing, and even space travel one day! We’ve partnered with First Descents which tends to do more park-oriented things (kayaking, climbing, etc) for those interested in more land-based adventures. Safe travels to everyone and thanks for reading my entry!

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