BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Two days of deep sea fishing in Biloxi was a welcome break for 12-year-old Anna Martin of Tennessee.
Diagnosed with leukemia two years ago, she's spent much of her time since then at doctor's appointments and hospital stays. But this week, she and her family traded in all that medical stuff for an offshore fishing adventure.
Anna Martin and her little sister rode on the bow as the "Skipper" returned to Point Cadet Marina.
"It was a blast. I had so much fun," she said.
Her first time deep sea fishing was a definite hit for this pre-teen from Tennessee.
"I liked catching the jacks, 'cause they were really big!"
Captain Tom Becker says he's never seen so many smiles on a single fishing trip. And this 12-year-old angler reeled in her share of bonita and mackerel and sharks.
"Sometimes I needed help, but most of the time I could do it by myself," said the smiling Anna.
Anna's mom says this focus on fishing is a welcome departure from all the medical concerns facing her daughter.
"She was diagnosed with AML leukemia when she was ten. And so, the last two years have pretty much been spent in hospitals. She's really a sick little girl," said Kristen Martin.
The family fishing trip was organized by the Catch a Dream Foundation. Captain Tom Becker has hosted trips before for children with life threatening illnesses.
"She had a great time. She was up and down and laughing all the time. Put the rod in her hand and she would start reeling. And I'd let her know, you can do it!" said Captain Becker.
"It was a blast. We had a great time. Something we've never done before and don't know if we'd get the chance again. Catch a Dream is a wonderful organization and it's just been so good to us and so good to Anna. We're just really blessed to be able to be here and experience a family vacation," said Anna's mother.
Anna and her family will take back only happy memories from this Biloxi adventure. And she'll especially remember the sharks.
"I've been fishing like off a dock a few times, but nothing like this," said the youngster.
Anna has already undergone a bone marrow transplant. Her mom says she's in remission right now and they remain hopeful for her full recovery.
The 12-year-old said she'd like to be a nurse when she grows up.