Pilot Neal Dillman is flying Jose C. and Elias A. 186 miles to Champ Camp, a special camp for kids who are burn survivors. Over 500 AFW flights take place each summer, transporting children to camps like Camp Kindle (affected by HIV/AIDS) and The Painted Turtle (serious medical conditions). You can enable a child to spend some fun, quality time with children like themselves. No amount is too little! Click onto: https://afids.angelflightwest.org/give. Please make a note that this is a tribute gift for camps. We thank you and so do these kids!
The first Princess Ball was held in March of 2009 as a homecoming celebration of life and the completion of treatment for four year-old Valicity Lee Faith. Valicity was diagnosed with Leukemia on January 14th 2008 — just 1 week before her third birthday. She went through 13 long months of chemotherapy in Seattle before the cancer was considered to be in remission; and our family was able to return home, with treatment cycles of chemo medication spaced out to once a month. We chose to hold a homecoming celebration of life with friends and family. We always considered her a princess so it felt appropriate to have a Princess Ball in her honor.
In March of 2010 Valicity relapsed with Leukemia and received additional treatment in Seattle. On July 6th 2010 Valicity lost her battle with cancer gaining her wings and joining the angels above.
In Valicity’s five wonderful, but short years here on earth, she proved that she had a gift, a gift of giving and bringing people together with her cheerful personality, contagious smile and laughter. This event is the perfect opportunity to celebrate her life and share with others some of the gifts that she gave us.
History of the Ball
In March 2011, we hosted the 1st Annual Princess Ball in memory of our little princess Valicity. The Ball was created for kids of all ages by allowing them to dress up and participate in fun games and events. The 2011 ball was a fundraiser for Angel Flight West — a nonprofit organization that helped transport our family to and from Seattle for Valicity’s monthly check-ups.
The 2011 Ball surpassed all expectations with more than 400 attendees and raised $15,000.
The 2nd Annual Princess Ball in January 2012 benefited “The Montana Hope Project.” This organization made one of Valicity’s dreams come true by helping her to visit Disney World. This event demonstrated Valicity’s gift to bring people together with over 640 attendees and more than $24,000 in funds raised that funded the dreams of at least 4 more children.
The 3rd Annual Princess Ball benefited “The Ronald McDonald house Charities of Montana.” This event once again demonstrated Valicity’s overwhelming gift to bring people together making it a huge success with bringing together over 1,200 people and raising $35,000.
The 4th Annual Princess Ball in March 2014 benefited once again “The Montana Hope Project.” In honor of our daughter and nephew Mikey Wilke who lost his battle with Muscular Dystrophy in 2013 joining his cousin Valicity. One of Mikey’s request is that he have the Princess Ball for the Montana Hope Project as he was also a recipient of this great organization. Also allowing one of his dreams come true by visiting Disney World. This event demonstrated Valicity’s gift once again selling out with tickets bring people together with over 1,500 attendees and more than $60,000 in funds raised.
This year the 5th Annual Princess Ball this year is going to be held on March 7th of 2015 at the Red Lion Hotel of Kalispell benefiting once again Angel Flight West. The goal is for that event to be bigger than previous years’, with more entertainment, raffle prizes, and drawings
Today, AFW planes flew from Salt Lake City to Cedar City to bring Santa and school supplies to underprivileged Utah children! Angel Flight West has been doing Santa Flights in Utah for over 10 years now. Every December, AFW team up with local Boy Scouts to provide school supplies for a rural Utah school.
– 6,000 pounds of donations
– $4700 in cash and checks
– 20 planes
– 1 Santa [thanks Tim Miller!]
Thank you to all of the amazing pilots, elves, Boy Scouts, and other volunteers who made Utah Santa Flights possible. Check out some cool photos below!
AFW had a wonderful #GivingTuesday yesterday, December 2. For those that don’t know about #GivingTuesday it is global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world came together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.
One part of AFWs #GivingTuesday was a great news segment on KGUN 9 Tucson Morning Blend about Angel Flight West and one of our frequent flyers, 8-year-old Mason. Angel Flight West pilot Scott Lehman, from Premier Auto Center, surprised Angel Flight West with a $5K donation and also surprised Mason’s family with a car, so that they are able to make some of their appointments when pilots are not available.
8-year-old Emily Zimmerman is a frequent flyer with Angel Flight West, and recently heard some great news from her pediatrician at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital on the grounds of Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA. After battling a brain tumor since last October, her scans had come back clean.
“It’s like being on Team Emily — you share strength and support while working through the challenges, and then the elation and genuine happiness when those challenges are overcome. It’s been a privilege and an honor to be a part of Emily’s journey.”
– AFW Member/Co-Pilot Jackie Gaertner
To read more about Emily’s inspiring story, please check out this great article by guest author Kathleen Masser for the Reno Gazette Journal.
Check out photos from some of our recent camp missions! This summer, volunteer pilots have flown kids to and numerous nonprofit camps – often the highlight of the summer for these campers. AFW pilots rock!
Many of our Angel Flight West families are facing extraordinary circumstances in their daily lives. Our goal is to ease some of the burden that comes along with serious medical needs by providing free transportation for families in need of a little help. Today, we’d like to share with you the story of the Bingham Family.
The five Bingham children all have a serious heart disease called Cardiomyopathy. Two of the Binghams, including longtime AFW passenger Sierra, have had heart transplants and another sibling has a pacemaker because of this disease. The Binghams’ story was featured as part of a series of NBC’s “Dateline” editions airing in June 2013 about people in remarkable situations. Included below is a link to the episode, which tells the family’s story and showcases their incredible optimism.
Angel Flight West flies patients of all ages to medical treatment. This week, we are going to focus on what it is like for a teenage patient flying to treatment with volunteer pilots. In 2013, Angel Flight West pilots flew a total of 485 flights for 172 passengers age 12-18. Some of these teens were flying for the first time with AFW and some were longtime passengers continuing their treatment.
Kody took his first flight with Angel Flight West on January 16, 2014 from Nevada to California. Kody is a 16-year-old boy with Stage IV Melanoma. After taking time off from work to care for him, Kody’s parents were not in the financial position to afford travel to a very important clinical trial consultation appointment at UC San Francisco Medical Center. Kody and his family turned to Leslie, Director of Programs and Services at Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation, for help and were able to set up a mission request with Angel Flight West. We caught up with Kody to find out more about his first experience as an AFW passenger.
Before traveling with AFW volunteer pilots, Kody expected a fast, comfortable flight – a much easier alternative to a long drive from Northern Nevada to San Francisco. He explained that “it meant a lot as it cut a 16 hour round trip into about 4 hours… it was great for my parents because they didn’t have to take extra days off work.” Flying with Angel Flight West really eases the burden for passengers like Kody who may not be able to make a long trip by car. For Kody, traveling long distance meant he “got to fly in four different planes and see places [he] normally drives by look so different from the air.”
Flying in a small aircraft with a volunteer pilot donating their time, money, and aircraft to help those in need can also be a fun experience for passengers. Kody reported that “it was really cool to fly for the first time. I got to fly some of the planes. The pilots explained all of the different controls.” Flying in a small aircraft really gives a passenger the opportunity to see what goes on in-flight. AFW passengers are able to hear the pilot communicating with air traffic control, witness the use of different controls on the dashboard, and sometimes fly a plane for the first time as a “co-pilot” like Kody did!
Angel Flight West volunteer pilots provide non-emergency air travel for passengers of all ages – ranging from infants to teens, like Kody, to adults. The flights donated by AFW pilots enable patients to receive vital treatment that might otherwise be inaccessible because of financial, medical or geographic limitations. If you know someone in need of charitable travel for healthcare, please have them visit http://afids.angelflightwest.org/request-a-flight to request a flight.
Many Angel Flight passengers are children traveling to treatment that is not available to them locally. We’d like to share some letters that we have received from parents as a reminder of the generosity of our pilots. As one parent notes, flying in small aircraft can be a really amazing experience for both children and their parents. It also takes a huge burden off of parents seeking to give their kids access to needed medical treatment. These letters serve as a great reminder of our mission as an organization as well as exemplify how awesome our pilots truly are!
My name is Ruben. l am writing this letter to Angel flight West. My son is a frequent flyer with angel flight his name is Adriel. They have been helping us since 2006. We appreciate the time that the pilot’s and the team at Angel flight do for us. My son was diagnosed in 2005 with Muscular Dystrophy. We have been going to UCLA for his treatments.l am really grateful for the team and for the pilots that take there time to help family’s like us. Angel Flight has helped my son these last few years taking us to UCLA. In 2010 the doctor’s disabled me so it has been hard for us to travel to UCLA – I’m no longer able to drive so I depend on Angel Flight to help me take me son for treatment. My son loves the flight he gets to see the pilot that help him. I want to say thank you to all the pilots for their time to help Angel flight. And also I’m thankful for the team of Angel flight for helping us in the time of need.
Dear Angel Flight,
The work your organization is doing is remarkable! Thank you for your efforts to book a flight for my daughter to Baltimore so she could see a specialist at the John Hopkins Vaculitis Center. She was not receiving the care she needed here in Oregon. It was not for lack of her doctors trying – they just didn’t fully understand her rare musculitis disorder. Dr. Leo at John’s Hopkins put my daughter on an incredibly strong drug regimen of chemotherapy and immunosuppression. It has only been 3 weeks since we returned and she is already feeling and looking better than she has for over a year. We are so very blessed that your organization saw the need for patients to travel to receive the proper care. Your generosity and hard work enabled us to get the answers we were so desperately seeking. We can’t thank you enough.
Karen and Alexa
Dear Angel Flight West,
I just wanted to write in let you know you provided me and my son Jesse a flight to Palo Alto, CA on 2/17/2012 for his Dr. apt with Rayvon. I wanted to say thank you very much it was the most beautifulest experience to see all the mountains and snow and everything. It was the best experience we ever been on. My son was truly happy and thankful. Also the pilot Rayvon was a great plot. So thank you once again and look forward to flying again in the future. Thank you! 🙂
Misty & Jesse
To Don (Angel Flight West pilot)
My daughter and I wanted to take a few minutes and say thank you very much. Out of the kindness of your heart you have gone above and beyond your generosity to help us. We can’t thank you enough for what you have done. I hope some day to meet you in person so we can thank you. Thanks for making Ashley’s trip easier and making it possible for her to get her treatment. From a mother’s heart, thank you. May God bless you and your family for the wonderful things you do.