Pro Snowboarder Travis Rice Grants Wish for Ailing Teen: A Fan’s Reaction

Casey James, 18, and his best bud D.J. Fechko of Wyoming are like many snowboarding fans in that they admire pro snowboarder Travis Rice, but that is where the similarity ends. Where James and Fechko differ from the rest of us is that they got to spend the day on the slopes with the superstar.

Here's the scoop:

About the Wish

James was born with a life-threatening illness and has had to deal with complicated medical issues all his life. As such, James was able to request a meeting with Rice through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. However, unlike most Make-A-Wish recipients, James wanted to do more than just meet the pro snowboarder. James' dream was to spend the day snowboarding with Rice.

On Feb. 15, 2012, that dream took a surreal turn. Rice met with the ailing teen and then upped the ante by changing the day's itinerary to include a heli-skiing trip through Jackson Hole in Wyoming's backcountry. James' friend D.J. Fechko got to go along for the ride. In my opinion, kudos are in order for Rice and all those that helped to make James' dream come true. It takes a truly special person to unselfishly reach out and impact the lives of others like that. The way I see it, it's also one more reason to sing the 29-year-old snowboarder's praises.

About Rice

2012 is already shaping up to be one incredible year for the talented snowboarder. In January 2012, he won TransWorld magazine's Rider of the Year Award, and his work in the "Art of Flight" snowboarding film was also recognized when it won the Video of the Year Award. That same month he also took on a slew of new sponsors, including Union Bindings and Contour Cameras. In early February, he turned around and left the world in awe again with his inaugural snowboarding competition, the Red Bull Supernatural.

Personally, I can't wait to watch the event in its entirety when it airs on NBC in March. The video teasers for it have been amazing. Rice is also being considered for the National Geographic's Adventurer of the Year People's Choice Award. Snowboarding fans will only have to wait a few more days to see if he'll win that accolade as well. The magazine will reveal the winner's name on Feb. 28, 2012. In my book, whether he wins another award this year or not, the guy is incredible. Other snowboarders should take note.

Killeen Gonzalez enjoys winter sports with her family and has traveled extensively.

More from this contributor:

Whistler Says No to Snowmobiles at X-Games 2013

Downhill for Diabetes Scheduled for Feb. 26th, 2012 in Killington, VT

Sugarloaf Banks Slalom Hits Carrabassett Valley, Maine March 9th, 2012

Chas Guldemond Wins Ticket to Ride World Snowboarding Championships in Norway

Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.

Updated Thursday, Feb 23, 2012