In pursuit of an adventure

Sunday, August 30, 2009
Dustan Heaton of Sikeston was just 20 years old when he lost his life to a terminal illness. Inspired by an organization that granted Dustan a hunting adventure in Texas, local resident Rick Davis has established Dream Pursuit, a non-profit organization that fulfills wishes for hunting and fishing expeditions for children and young adults with life threatening illnesses.

It was through the experience of losing a close young friend that Rick Davis of Dexter, Mo., first conceived the idea of Dream Pursuit, a not-for-profit organization that grants special wishes to children and young adults under 21 who are terminally ill.

After his friend, Dustan Heaton, was diagnosed and while Dustan was strong enough to comfortably travel, he was granted a special wish. Dustan wanted to go to a Texas ranch to hunt whitetail deer.

That wish became a reality through an organization geared toward fulfilling the dreams of children with life-threatening illnesses.

"It was after a subsequent trip to the same Texas ranch," said Davis, who recently relocated in Dexter from the Sikeston area, "that I realized I needed to be a part of something like this. I just didn't know how or in what way."

Rick Davis knows now. He has established an organization of his own called Dream Pursuit.

"Too often in life we are simply content with what this world has to offer with no thought of what we might give back," Davis said. "I realized through my friend's experience that it was time for me to give back."

And give back, he has. Davis has formed the organization and has developed a website ( that defines his purpose in doing so. Now, he is putting the word out that Dream Pursuit is available for some very special people who qualify. It is through the generosity of the general public that these dreams are fulfilled.

"Some children want to go deep sea fishing, and some want to go wild hog hunting," he said. "We try our best to accommodate the children's wishes in the best possible way to make a lasting memory for all concerned."

It is Davis' intent that Dream Pursuit cover all expenses that are incurred on any given adventure, including meals and lodging and the expense of the trip itself.

"The harvest of an animal or the catch of a fish," Davis said, "is only a small part of the experience of granting a child their wish. The people we meet, the places we go, the lives we touch, only for a short time, will leave the memories that last long after the adventure is complete and that's what Dream Pursuit is all about."

Parties interested in learning more information about Dream Pursuit or any individual or group in need of donation information may contact Davis through e-mail at or by phone at 573-421-5580.

For Rick Davis, the mission is simple.

"By fulfilling lifelong dreams through hunting and fishing adventures," he said, "we are able to bring together the two most valuable treasures with which we have been entrusted -- our children and the great outdoors."

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