When the Dream Factory of the Jersey Shore met Dawson, he had started home schooling because his illness has caused him to miss too much school in his previous school year. He often felt so bad that he could not leave the couch. When he did feel good, it was skateboarding that kept his spirits up. Dawson explained to the representatives of the DFJS that it was skateboarding that gave his life meaning. It was his dream to meet professional skateboarder, Paul Rodriquez, known by his fans as P-Rod. During a conversation with DFJS personnel, Dawson mentioned that it would be amazing if he could also get to see The Berrics, a professional skateboarding facility used only by the top ranking pros.
Skateboarders are known as rebels, as people that go against the grain. Getting access to P-Rod and his manager proved to be a challenge. The DFJS attempted every avenue to contact them. When they finally got through to P-Rod’s manager, she was thrilled with the prospect of helping Dawson and adding some hope in his life.
In February, 2016, The Dream Factory of the Jersey Shore, flew Dawson Renna and his parents to Los Angeles, California. Dawson’s dream was going to be fulfilled. He would meet P-Rod at the Berrics for a meet and greet, as well as a 15 minute skateboarding session. Based on the reputation of skateboarders, we presumed it would be a quick meet and greet and the family would be on it’s way to Universal Studios for the rest of the trip.
Upon arriving at The Berrics, the family was met by Paul Rodriquez’s manager. She introduced Paul, upon his arrival. Dawson was blown away when Paul presented him with 2 backpacks and a duffle bag full of skateboarding apparel, equipment and supplies and even a new skateboard. Paul then chatted with Dawson a little while and suggested they do some warm ups before skating. After over an hour of skating, tips and lessons, the two took a break. They were joined by staff members of The Berrics who suggested live tweeting of this “event”. They sent out a tweet and Instagram post asking kids across the county to suggest “tricks” for P-Rod and Dawson to do. Hundreds of kids responded. The event was filmed and posted on The Berrics website. After 2 hours of skating, Dawson’s parents sent out for lunch, ordering what they knew was Paul’s favorite food.
Everyone sat in the lounge enjoying lunch as skateboarders came in and out. P-Rod was so gracious, introducing Dawson as his friend. The owner of The Berrics, a professional skateboarder in his own right, joined and took pictures with Dawson. He went to his office and returned with a bag full of apparel for Dawson as well. As the family was leaving, the current world champion skateboarders arrived at The Berrics and once again, P-Rod introduced Dawson to each of them. At the end of the afternoon, Paul Rodriquez and his fellow skateboarders spent 3 hours with Dawson and his family!
While this is more than just a dream come true for Dawson, it has not ended there. Paul has reached out to Dawson and kept in touch with him. He has just sent him tickets for a local skate competition along with VIP passes for the event. This dream went above and beyond all expectations and has made a tremendous difference in Dawson Renna’s life!