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A Private Angel in the Sky

Cassius, a 1 year old baby was born with a rare condition, he needed to be transported from his home in Florida to the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. The mission was to prepare him for a transplant that needed to be performed almost immediately, Cassius needed to receive a stem-cell transplant (or commonly called Bone Marrow transplant) at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

After the news, Mr Dreaper, Cassius’s father, decided to contact few airlines to transport his kid but commercial flight was not an option given Cassius’s fragile medical state and the COVID-19 pandemic, which could have worsened his situation. Unfortunately for these types of cases, commercial air travel is not a safe option given the presence of pathogens in public spaces.

An ambulance could have been a second option but almost 16 hours from Pensacola, Florida to Philadelphia up north could also have been extremely risky for his condition.

AeroAngel is the only organization in the US that provides long-distance flights all on private jet aircraft for very sick children at no cost to families, who need to travel to and from distant, life-saving medical facilities. “We needed a miracle and AeroAngel was there for us,” said Cassius’s father, Dreaper,

“With the COVID storm still overhead, we expect demand for flights to double again this year to help medically fragile children with no other safe options travel to and from life-saving medical care,” said Mark Pestal, AeroAngel’s founder and president.

Based in Colorado, AeroAngel provides flights across the US, relying on a network of generous jet donors, volunteer pilots and funded charter flights to fulfill a growing list of urgent flight requests. Last year, AeroAngel completed nearly 75 flights, and Cassius’s was the fifth flight supporting children receiving treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Cassius is now doing better . His father said: “Cassius is doing great, still moving in the right direction getting off the meds and transitioning from the tube feeding. We’ve been having to drive to Gainesville every 4 weeks or so, it’s hard on Cassius but he does well enough. We still can’t believe we made it home! You all are so amazing and we are still just so thankful!”


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