Ten-year-old Jake Smith has always dreamed of riding with legendary Iditarod musher Ramy Brooks on race day and, thanks to the generosity of Cellular One, that dream will come true on Saturday.
After the original basket bidder was forced to drop out, Cellular One, who sponsors Brooks, jumped at the chance to purchase the basket and donate it to Wish Upon The North Star.
Jake, who has Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic disease affecting more than 30,000 children and adults in the United States, was selected by Wish Upon the North Star to ride in Ramy’s basket.
“Jake Smith was selected by Wish Upon The North Star because he is such a terrific kid and a great role model to his friends,” said Rich Owens, a board member with the organization.
"We are so proud to be investing in Ramy Brooks, the Alaska spirit and the Alaska culture," said Craig Davis, Public Relations Manager for Cellular One. "Now, with Jake joining the team on race day, it is a true pairing of Alaskan spirit as they are both an inspiration to us all."
Jake is the son of Suzanne and Tim Smith and attends Larsen Elementary School in Wasilla. Tim Smith currently is deployed with the military overseas.
Ramy Brooks is a five-time Iditarod finisher with his top finish in eighth place in 1997. He lives in Healy with his wife Cathy, two children; Abby and Molly. Brooks' own bloodlines come from two mushing greats, his mother, Roxy Wright-Champaine, and his grandfather, Gareth Wright.
Ramy is as well known off the trail for his work with mental health issues as he is on the trail. Brooks is a strong supporter of healthy Alaskan communities, education and the well being of Alaska’s children and races to draw attention to these issues.
Jake's wish came through the Wish Upon The North Star, a non-profit, 501 (c) 3 organization with a charter to fulfill the wishes of Alaskan children with life-threatening illnesses. In 2005, they granted more than 10 wishes for Alaska's most special children.
Ramy Brooks, along with Jacob Smith will be featured at the "Ramy Rocks And Is Ready to Roll, send off party" at the Cellular One Business Park Center near the corner of Tudor and C Street. The event is on Friday night, 5 PM - 7 PM and is open to the general public