Man with terminal illness gets dying wish

Published On: Jan 08 2012 04:31:25 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 08 2012 11:30:17 PM EST
Last wish
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A man with terminal cancer got to spend some of his final moments doing what he loved—windsurfing.

From far away, 47-year-old Vince Holton looked like an athlete—healthy and strong, gliding across the water at Huguenot Park. But up close, he looked sick and frail, battling non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

"It's definitely terminal," Holton said. "I went through two cycles of chemo, lost my hair, lost my weight, my hair falling out."

But even as his body grew weaker, his heart and soul grew stronger.

"I'm happy. It's an awkward thing to hear from somebody in my condition, but I have no complaints," he said.

With the help of family, friends and volunteers from Heartland Hospice, Holton fulfilled a final wish—to windsurf again after having taught the sport for years.

Photos: Vincent Holton windsurfs near Huguenot Park

"One of the things I wanted to do before I passed is I wanted to go out windsurfing at least one more time," Holton said. "This is actually my third of fourth time, so I've been blessed with that much."

Dr. Michael Janssen, also windsurfer, helped Holton get back on the water. He thought he would be the one doing all the work with Holton just coming along for the ride.

"No, he wanted to sail himself and he did," Janssen said. "He got the sail up and he went scooting across the water. He got on the other side, he turned back, he pulled it off, he came back in and he was moving."

Holton said being out on the water again was nice, but spending the day out of the hospital with the people who care about him was even better.

"Actually just having the camaraderie is more important to me than anything else," Holton said. "To see how big people's hearts actually are. They're angels. They just don't have their wings."