Corporate Angel Network, an organization that arranges free flights to treatment for cancer patients in the empty seats of corporate aircraft, has transported its 42,000th patient. The first patient was flown in 1981.
The flight carried one year old cancer patient Alexander Hopper home to the Denver area after he received treatment for Retinoblastoma at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City. Traveling with Alexander was his mother, Andrea Reitzel. “Alexander is almost cured from Retinoblastoma” said his mother Andrea Reitzel. “The best treatment for a cure was only available by plane. Our burden is lighter because of CAN!”
The milestone flight was operated by Ball Corporation, a CAN participating company since 1985. “At Ball, engaging in our communities is something we have done for over 130 years” said Barry Stidham, Director of Aviation and Chief Pilot. It’s who we are. We are proud to partner with Corporate Angel Network and the good work that they do and, while as a pilot I love every flight I make, the CAN flights, like today’s, are always the ones I remember most.”
Corporate Angel Network flights are provided by the 500 plus major corporations who participate in CAN’s program and typically involve long distance trips to and from major cancer treatment centers around the country.
A staff of six, with the help of 35 volunteers, works to match patient requests with the flight schedules of participating corporations. The charity arranges about 250 patient flights each month and has received numerous awards in recognition of its service to cancer patients including The Volunteer Action Award, the highest volunteer award from the President of the United States.