Blaise Hoster's Story
For her first 8 years growing up in Mohrsville, PA, Blaise Hoster was a typical girl playing sports, excelling at softball. At the age of 8 Blaise started feeling stiffness in her legs and was diagnosed with Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP). HSP is a group of inherited diseases whose main feature is progressive stiffness and contraction in the lower limbs. Now at age 14, HSP has progressed to the point where Blaise is wheelchair bound. Blaise attends Schuylkill Valley School and does her best to maintain a typical teenage life. Her father, Matt, and grandfather, Joe, are big hunters and love to share hunting camp stories. Shaun McGuire , a friend of the family and a MOPA volunteer, referred Matt to MOPA. Matt came to one of our meetings and felt like this could be an opportunity for Blaise to experience a hunting camp with her father and grandfather.
Blaise Hoster's Whitetail Hunt
October 25th-28th, 2013
We met Blaise, her father Matt, and Grandfather Joe for breakfast early Friday morning before starting our trip to Gibbon Glade in western Pennsylvania. It was a nice way to break the ice and introduce the Hoster family to their MOPA hosts for the weekend. Representing MOPA were Brad Goodhart, Hector Amengual, Mike Huey, and Shaun McGuire.
After driving for 4 plus hours we arrived at Gibbon Glade around 1:00 pm and were met by Chris, owner of Gibbon Glade, and Mike, our guide. We settled in for lunch and Chris told us that since Blaise wanted to use a crossbow for the hunt he would like to see her shoot at some targets. Based on the blind he had assigned to us, Chris expected the Buck to be about 30 yards away and wanted Blaise to demonstrate how well she could hit a target at that distance. After lunch, we all went outside and setup the target. On her first attempt Blaise hit the target about 1 ½ inches above the bulls eye. Chris, as well as the rest of us, was very impressed by that shot. After some quick coaching from her dad, Blaise fired her second shot, this time she hit the bulls eye dead center. That was enough for Chris and we started to get ready for the hunt.
We arrived at the blind shortly after 3:00 pm and settled in to wait for one of 4 bucks that Chris had selected to walk by the blind. It didn’t take long before doe and smaller bucks started to walk by the blind, but it took about 90 minutes for our guide Mike to spot a buck Blaise could shoot. We all could see the buck that approach the blind and Blaise got into position. Mike told Blaise to shoot when ready and 3 seconds later she let her arrow fly. The buck jumped, ran 20 yards, and collapsed. It was hard to tell who was more excited, Blaise, her father, or grandfather. It was great to see the smile on their faces. Matt and Joe had been telling hunting stories back at the lodge, now they can add Blaise’s hunt to their stories. We are all glad they allowed MOPA to be part of this story.
Hector AmengualMoments of Peace Adventures