Pilots for Patients Takes Flight
Some flights out of Louisiana airports carry priceless cargo, thanks to an organization called Pilots for Patients.
Pilots for Patients, based out of Monroe, LA, provides air transportation to individuals for medical purposes. A group of about 70 professional pilots donate their personal plane, time, and fuel to fly medical patients. This eliminates the “burden of travel,” according to the mission statement.
Pilots can fly within a 350 mile radius of the Louisiana airport (for a complete list of Louisiana airports, see the Google Map below) to get the medical help the patient requires. This service costs nothing for the patient or their family.
H.M. Butler, Board of Directors member, said the non-profit organization mainly transports those with cancer, cerebral pausie, and kidney failure. The patients can range from six months old to 99 years old.
Even though the charity is only about two years old, Pilots for Patients recently celebrated its 500th mission by flying 15-year-old Christian Billingsley to Texas Christian Hospital for dialysis treatment. Christian has a rare form of kidney failure called Atypical-HUS, and he has required critical medical attention since he was three months old. His parents, Gene and Aida, said Pilots for Patients is a tremendous help to the Billingsley family.
Phillip Coyne, the pilot for the 500th mission, has been flying professionally for about twenty years and he said Pilots for Patients allows him to give back to the community.
“My absolute hope for not only Christian, but also the other kids and the adults that have flown, is that they all recover and are blessed every day,” said Coyne.
To meet Christian and see him celebrate the 500th mission with the pilots, the Board of Directors, and his father, click here.