Small Aircraft Play a Big Role in Cancer Treatment
Two pilots enjoy a beautiful day of flying – and the satisfaction of bringing a cancer patient back home after treatment
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February 3, 2014 (FPRC) -- Flying is an enjoyable pastime for most pilots, especially those who don’t have to do it for a living. There is nothing more exhilarating than taking to the skies in a small plane – the freedom and challenge of flight is unlike any other. Add to this the satisfaction that comes from helping a cancer patient get home after cancer treatment and the experience becomes even more rewarding.
Last Friday, I took the day off from work from my aviation marketing business and met my good friend and fellow pilot Malcolm Dickinson at Bridgeport Airport where Malcolm’s Piper Comanche is based. It was beautiful, winter January morning in the Northeast – a great day to fly. We also had a passenger with us today, Olivia Chin, who we were flying back home just outside Binghamton, NY. Olivia had just spent the week receiving treatment at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Center for a rare form of cancer called Multiple Myeloma and Amyloidosis.
The flight had been arranged by Patient AirLift Services, also known as PALS. Patient AirLift Services arranges free air transportation for folks who require medical treatment, but cannot afford to fly commercially, or are unable to because of their medical condition. In Olivia’s case it was to provide a more convenient and less stressful way for her to return home after a weeklong session.
Olivia needs treatment once a month for her cancer and the closest facilities that specialize in her rare form of cancer are either in New York City or Boston.
Normally, Olivia would have to get up at 4:30 AM and spend more than 6 hours travelling from Owego, NY to the hospital in New York City. Not only is the travel time lengthy, but it is also very stressful for her; in addition, because of her lowered immune system, she is at a higher risk of infection when surrounded by many people in a confined space for hours.
Our flight to Binghamton cuts her travel time to just an hour and a half – and like us; Olivia enjoys the experience of flying in small aircraft.
'I am forever grateful to the generosity of the PALS volunteer pilots, like Rocco and Malcolm, who donate their time and aircraft to provide free transportation for patients like myself,' said Olivia Chin. 'They make my battle with cancer so much easier to deal with, by taking the stress out of travelling. I find flying with these wonderful people a joy - and the experience of flying a thrill as well.'
'In addition to the good will we receive from doing a PALS flight, there are other benefits as well' added Malcolm. 'We are typically given priority routing by air traffic control, airport landing fees are usually waived, and fuel is often discounted.'
Patient AirLift Services (PALS), founded in 2010, is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that arranges FREE air transportation through its volunteer pilot network for individuals requiring medical diagnosis, treatment or follow-up, for military personnel and their families, or for other compassionate and humanitarian purposes. PALS is located in Farmingdale, NY and has arranged over 3700 flights to date and services the Northeast region from Maine to Virginia and west to Ohio.
For more information about Patient AirLift Services, visit: www.palservices.org, or call 631-694-PALS (7257)
About Olivia Chin
Olivia Chin is a cancer survivor and author of Love, Olivia: A Stem Cell Transplant Story, which chronicles her cancer journey from pre-diagnosis to discoveries and decisions. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and two daughters. To contact Olivia call: 607-972-7645, or email her at: oliviach @ stny.rr.com.
About Rocco Cipriano
Rocco Cipriano is an instrument rated, private pilot who flies for Patient AirLift Services and a Captain in the Civil Air Patrol the Civil Air Patrol. He is the president and founder of Aviation Marketing Consulting, a marketing firm with a focus on aviation and aerospace. He is the author of a soon to be published book on aviation marketing titled: Full Throttle Aviation Marketing. Rocco is a passionate advocate for general aviation. He serves on the Board of the Westchester Aviation Association, and a member of AOPA, EAA and NBAA.
To contact: Rocco call: 801-820-0020; or email him at: rocco @ aviationmarketing.aero.
Send an email to Rocco Cipriano of Aviation Marketing Consulting
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