Ill Arlington teenager wins his dream hunting trip

ARLINGTON -- Jonathan Beach's grin couldn't have been any wider Tuesday night when TNT Outdoor Explosion co-host Todd Cast stopped by his restaurant table and announced that he had a surprise for the 13-year-old and his family.

As a camera crew recorded the moment, Cast sat next to the Barnett Junior High seventh-grader and handed him a box of ammunition.

Jonathan is going to Junction to hunt for white-tailed deer, Cast said.

Since summer 2009, TNT Outdoor Explosion and the Cast of Dreams foundation have partnered to arrange for children with debilitating illnesses to go on dream hunting trips. The trips are taped, and Jonathan's should air next fall.

Jonathan, who has never hunted, said he initially had bigger game in mind when he learned that Cook Children's Medical Center nominated him for the show.

"I wanted to get a buffalo," he said. "I wanted to eat it."

Jonathan, who spent much of the past year in the hospital with cystic fibrosis, said he'll be happy to try some venison instead.

His trip was largely sponsored by the Joey Wilkins Foundation of Grapevine. Representatives of the foundation helped celebrate Tuesday's announcement at Olenjack's Grille in north Arlington.

Cast, a professional hunter, said spending time with children such as Jonathan has been more rewarding than he ever imagined when he founded the show.

"It's a blessing," Cast said. "Every trip we walk away from, we've been blessed exponentially by these kids and their families."

Susan Schrock, 817-390-7639