Mary Margaret Lynn of Cape May Court House, N.J., knows what it’s like to go from giddy joy to overwhelming sorrow all in the span of about two weeks.
Lynn’s daughter, Genny Farnan, announced her engagement on March 15, 2013. Then on April 1, Farnan, then 26, was diagnosed with a brain tumor, setting the stunned family on a frenetic search for medical expertise.
“It’s a rough diagnosis. It was beyond traumatic. I’m still reeling from it,” says Lynn, a retired high school principal.
For six weeks, Farnan underwent daily chemotherapy at a Philadelphia hospital. Meanwhile, the family searched for a hospital specializing in treatment of brain tumors in the hope of getting her into clinical trials using an experimental drug. They chose Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.
That’s how they connected with Bill Kindle, a Cape May Court House auto dealer who operates Ford and Chrysler stores. As part of her follow-up care, Farnan needed to travel to Duke every two months for an MRI and doctor appointments. By car, it’s a 450-mile drive, grueling under the best of circumstances.
But Kindle, a veteran pilot who owns a Cessna Citation S/II, participates in a program called Angel Flight. The charitable organization was founded by pilots to provide free transportation for people needing special medical care.
“There are probably six people I work for as far as giving them a lift” by plane, says Kindle. He doesn’t ask about the patients’ health issues unless they volunteer it. “Some of the stories you hear are heart-crushing,” he says.
Farnan went ahead with her wedding this past June, and she continues her visits to Duke with Kindle at the controls of the Cessna. He has been making such flights since about 2003.
The flights are a small part of the charitable activities of Kindle Auto Plaza. This year, Ford Motor Co. honored Kindle for his charitable work at the company’s annual Salute to Dealers at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention.
“Bill has flown us about six times,” says Lynn. “It takes such a burden off our shoulders because it’s so stressful to begin with it. It’s a real blessing. He’s a wonderful man. Once we did it, he said, ‘Count on it for as long as you need me to.’
“Anybody who has any connection to me or Genny won’t buy a car anywhere else. We’re all Kindle fans.”