Richland father aiming to fulfill dying wish with his son

RICHLAND, Wash. — Donavon Koker is a man on a mission.

He’s faced medical battles his entire life, including losing one of his kidneys a few years back, to dealing with heart problems.

Even now, his other kidney only operates at 18% and he’s had a quadruple bypass and multiple stents.

But as a husband and father of two, he’s used his family as motivation to keep going.

However, just a couple of weeks ago at his most recent appointment, Koker heard life-changing news.

“There’s too much scar tissue to put any more stents in and nothing left to attach to for the bypass,” Koker said.

Doctors told Koker “to deal with it the best you can and when it happens, it happens.”

“I don’t know how long I’ve got left,” Koker said. “My heart is basically a ticking time bomb.”

That’s when he turned to his 12-year-old son, Lincoln.

“He’s an amazing kid with good grades,” Koker said. “So I wanted to basically give him a trip to the ocean.”

It’s a trip that’s long overdue. Lincoln was supposed to go to OMSI in 2020 with his 5th-grade class but it was ultimately canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They were gonna stay the night at the museum and then get on the submarine,” Koker said. “They had to cancel his field trip and honestly it was one of the first times I’ve ever seen him just truly bummed out and disappointed about something.”

As a child, Koker didn’t get to go on family vacations or even have “me and dad time” as his father worked 60+ hours a week but cash was still strapped.

“When I became a father, that was the one thing I wanted to really make sure is that my kids had memories of us together,” Koker said. “Since Lincoln’s been born, especially, I have focused all my energy on giving him the best life I can give him.”

So to fulfill this dream, friends encouraged him to make a GoFundMe. When he finally did on Monday, he didn’t expect his $2,000 goal to be blown up by five times that amount.

Thanks to generosity from the community, the Koker family is now able to take their first full family vacation ever to stay on the beach at the Oregon Coast during Lincoln’s week-long spring break.

“The thing I’m looking most forward to is just seeing his face the first time he sees the ocean,” Koker said. “I found out yesterday he is more excited about the tour at the Tillamook Cheese Factory because he’s obsessed with cheese.”

Dozens of people wanting to help have reached out to the family with offers for fishing, surfing, crabbing, sand dune buggying, and more.

They’re also heading on a behind-the-scenes tour at the Newport Aquarium.

“I’m just kind of along for the ride at this point,” Koker said. “I could probably take two months off of work and not get through all of the requests people have sent me.”

A drive-by parade is also being set up by Joel Watson of Just Joel’s, CleanSweep Tri-Cities, and many more for Saturday, Feb. 5 at 2 p.m.

It’ll feature decorated cars, bikers, and members of the local fire and police departments.

Koker, who describes himself as an introverted and private person, said he’s been “overwhelmed” by all of the support.

“From me and my family, we thank you all very much for that,” Koker said.

To donate to the GoFundMe, click here.