Bali is the ultimate surf destination. Whenever we hear about it, we instantly dream of perfect barrels, delicious, dirt-cheap meals, a booming hippie yoga culture, and amazing people from all over the world converging in this one awesome place, many of them for the pleasure of riding waves.
Long gone are the days when one could roam the planet worry-free from the nuances of travel. Ironically, the intent of a trip is often to put oneself in danger deliberately, hoping to score the wave of a lifetime.
Sometimes real life can be remarkably similar to the movies. The protagonist is living the apex of his life and suddenly the rug is swept out from under his feet. What was intended as a stay in paradise now feels like a prison, thanks to an injury or a sudden illness. Of course, the gravity of the illness is life’s way to test the will to survive…and you (or that movie character) are caught in this mess thanks to inadequate travel insurance.
For Christian Bosco, a well-known member of both the Mexican and Spanish surf communities who is a surf instructor in Cantabria, northern Spain, what started as an unseemingly common nosebleed would turn into a full-on nightmare. On May 4th, Christian arrived in Indonesia with friends for the trip of a lifetime. He spent a little over the next month getting to know Bali, the people there, the island’s other visitors, and of course the waves. On Sunday, June 18th, he didn’t feel well. In fact, he felt bad enough that he went to the hospital to take care of that nosebleed. That nosebleed led to finding out he had acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. His condition is nearly impossible to properly treat in Bali, but his insurance will not cover adequate transportation back to Spain. So he remains in Indonesia, receiving regular blood transfusions while fighting for his life.
His condition requires aerial transportation to get him to another specialized medical facility as his illness becomes more debilitating by the hour. Every day that goes by is urgent if he is to survive and receive a Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. As one can imagine, the price tag of those medical bills is adding up each day, calling for a fundraising campaign on Surferrule.
If only Christian had left home with the right travel insurance he would already be back home. There’d be no dealing with foreign facilities who lack the resources to treat this life-altering thing that made itself known out of the blue while he was fulfilling a surfing dream.
There are multiple harrowing things that can happen on a remote location surf trip, sometimes with medical assistance being hours away. Shark bites and freediving blackouts are just a couple things that can take a human life in seconds or even minutes, but we rarely fear battling leukemia in a far off land while the surf is pumping. All while you hold on to life with the thought of returning home to catch another wave.
Surfing is beautiful because it’s created a community of like-minded and soul-driven individuals around the world. We all yearn for that glimpse of the vortex inside a barrel and we all love seeing the sunset from the comfort of the lineup. We care about good causes in support of good people, and I believe these things that unite us go beyond waves and surf stoke. I recently read that when you get to lend a helping hand, one must acknowledge a feeling of gratitude, for life has put you in a position to give help rather than be the one who needs it.
Editor’s Note: You can learn more about Christian’s story and donate here. The surf community has pulled together to raise more than $100,000 of the $139,000 goal to get him home and help with treatment. We’re all sending maximum aloha and the best wishes out to Christian and his family.