Hunter Stocks, an 18-year-old who lives in Raleigh, N.C., with his parents, Kim and Jim, is learning to skydive. Last Wednesday, he did his first tandem jump, meaning he bombed out of an airplane with an instructor—connected via a harness at the hips and shoulders—on his back.
Stocks was hooked. His plan is to work his way through an accelerated freefall training program and earn his basic certification so he can jump on his own.
Honored Fountain Powerboats guest Hunter Stocks paid a visit to the Washington, N.C., facility yesterday and realized at least one dream in the process.
“I love going fast in everything,” he said, during a visit yesterday to Fountain Powerboats in Washington, N.C. “Skydiving is so fast—it’s just crazy. Falling does feel like flying.”
Learning to skydive takes time, which is the one thing Stocks may or may not have. About a year ago, he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, an aggressive and often lethal form of blood cancer. The only guarantee in his life is that he has to beat the disease to survive.
Stocks was in the hospital for the better part of 2020. Finally, he’d had enough.
“I said I’m not staying in the hospital anymore,” he said. “They can treat me at home.
“About three months ago, I was given one month to live,” he added, then smiled. “My doctor is extremely surprised I am feeling so well—I was down to 120 pounds and now I’m up to 170. I feel great.”
As it happens, Wyatt Fountain, the eldest son of Fountain Powerboats founder Reggie Fountain, Jr., went to high school with Stocks’ father. When Wyatt learned about Hunter’s condition—and that he had always wanted a ride in a high-performance powerboat—he him and his family to the factory.
Captured here with his family, Hunter Stocks (in red windbreaker) doesn’t know the meaning of quit.
So yesterday Hunter Stocks found himself along for the ride in a new Fountain 42 Lightning with company chief operating officer Jeff Harris at the helm. He returned from the ride with a massive grin—the kind that categorically answers the question of how much he enjoyed the ride—plastered on his face.
Being a proud Carolinian, he was equally impressed that the boat was built in his home state.
“I think that Fountain and Donzi being built right here in North Carolina is awesome,” he said.
Having graduated early from high school, Stocks wants to become a mechanic and go to technical school to learn his craft. Given enough time, he said, he might even like to work for Fountain Powerboats. And despite the significant challenges ahead of him, he likes his chances.
“My doctor went to school and learned medicine,” he said. “He may be smarter than me. He may know more than me. But he doesn’t know me. He doesn’t know the fight I have in me.”