Connecting with nature can be incredibly cathartic when you’re coping with the death of a loved one.
Dan Fischer recently lost two important people in his life when his best friend and his father both passed away. As he worked through his grief, he found solace in the sea, taking his board out to surf the waves near his home in Newport, Rhode Island.
One chilly January day, Dan had just finished surfing when he had an idea about sharing his passion for surfing with other people who are going through a major loss.
That day, he’d written his father’s name on his surfboard so he could take his dad with him into the waves. He wondered if other people struggling with loss might want to see their loved ones remembered in such a way. What if he could help them ride one last wave, too?
Dan made a TikTok video right there on the beach inviting people to share the name of a loved one who passed so he could add their name to his board.
“It felt right and I wanted to help,” Dan explained. “I knew how healing surfing had been for me, and I wanted the opportunity to share that with others in hopes of inserting some positivity into their lives.”
The response was instantaneous! The requests poured in so fast that within a week, he made the project official. The One Last Wave Project aims to “bring the healing power of the ocean to help grieving families and individuals coping with loss or experiencing hardship.”
So far, Dan has etched more than 1,000 names into his board and has taken them out in the sea for a ride. Dan said spending time with these loved ones has moved him to his core, and he often finds himself in tears as he listens to the story behind each loss.
“Something we always say out there is, ‘one last wave,'” Dan said. “There’s always one last wave to catch and I wanted to give that to others. There have been so many stories shared about loved ones who always wanted to learn to surf, or how the ocean was their happy place and unfortunately, their families weren’t able to get them there in time. I committed to ensuring that they got out there for that one last wave.”
Dan has always been a philanthropist. He is also the founder of Step Up for the Cure, an initiative that raises money for cancer research. The charitable project asks people to run marathon distances up stairs for 24 hours straight to give participants a taste of the challenges cancer patients face every day.
For One Last Wave, Dan wants to focus more on the peace and healing that can be found in the ocean’s waves.
“Surfing is one of my great passions,” he said. “It has changed my life, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be sharing that love with others in a way that provides hope and healing.”
Dan’s One Last Wave Project is just getting started, but judging by the response so far, he’s really onto something here. We wish him the best of luck as he continues to guide people toward healing and acceptance.
Share this story to spread the word about the One Last Wave Project.
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