Houseboat Retreat Perfect For Young Girl With Cancer

September 2016 Feature Web Exclusive

Sometimes when life swings a hard curveball at you, it can do wonders to retreat somewhere with those you love and immerse yourself in the peaceful cadence of nature. Grand Forks Herald shared that this is exactly what one young girl and her family did after she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, an aggressive form of bone cancer.

Nineteen-year-old Rylie Heisler and her family were able to explore Crane Lake and Voyageurs National Park in northeast Minnesota, thanks to Voyagaire Houseboats donating a luxury houseboat and the Minnesota Outdoor Adventure Foundation covering the rest of the trip. This foundation offers outdoor escapes to disabled military veterans and children and young adults facing serious illnesses. Dan Oliver, the foundation's volunteer state director, reported to Grand Forks Herald that a big fundraiser auction held every year covers most of the trips they provide.

"Through our association with Voyagaire Houseboats, we pretty much had that available just waiting for the right situation and the right family," Oliver reported. "Once Rylie came along, that was just a perfect fit."

Rylie’s mother, Dee, said, "It's given not only Rylie, but our whole family something to look forward to, something to talk about…The planning of it is as important as the trip itself, and Dan Oliver has been so generous and so kind. It's just a very wonderful feeling to know people out there care about other people."

Their big houseboat trip included use of a hot tub, water slide, and two days of guided fishing—something Rylie has always enjoyed doing.

For more information on the Minnesota Outdoor Adventure Foundation, check out the website at or contact Oliver at

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