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'We're really grateful': Pilot helps relocate family with son battling cancer

The Massachusetts-based nonprofit arranges medical trips for patients and families at no cost. Volunteer pilots donate their time, planes and fuel.

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A sleek Gulfstream jet sat ready on the grounds of Logan airport in Boston, where passengers for private flights check-in ahead of take-off.

On Saturday, it was 9-year-old John Cooney and his family who checked-in before they took off for California.

Elizabeth Cooney, John’s mother, is an educator. She is starting a new job on the West Coast that she said will allow for more time at home and opportunities for wellness.

"I thought this would be so healing for our family and just simplify things," she said.

Originally from California, Elizabeth Cooney said she was eager to return and her new job made the move possible.

"But, how we would get there just seemed so impossible with COVID and with John in the state he's in," Cooney said.

Angel Flight Northeast caught wind of the Cooney’s need.

The Massachusetts-based nonprofit arranges medical trips for patients and families at no cost. Volunteer pilots donate their time, planes and fuel.

"We have the resources, we have the knowledge and most especially we want to help people," said Larry Camerlin, founder of Angel Flight.

"We would normally fly a family like this through our partner JetBlue, but because of John's totally compromised immune system we had to fly him in a private aircraft," Camerlin said.

A private flight of the size and distance required had never been completed by an Angel Flight volunteer before, but a new volunteer pilot, with the special Gulfstream jet stepped up.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Camerlin said he's seen an overwhelming amount of care and generosity.

"For every flight request we get now, we have 10 pilots who sign up for it within seconds of it being posted," he said.

In addition to medical flights, volunteer pilots have transported COVID-19 tests, even turtles that had to be transported from the New England Aquarium to South Carolina.

"Most recently we've got requests to help fly hundreds and hundreds of boxes of food, water and supplies to Native American reservations,” Camerlin said. “We're committed to doing everything we can for people."

Elizabeth Cooney said the Angel Flight team and their volunteer pilot, who requested to remain anonymous, relieved so much stress.

"We're just really touched that someone that doesn't even know us is willing to do this,” she said. "We're really grateful."

Find out more about Angel Flight Northeast here.