For nearly 20 years, Angel Flight Northeast (AFNE) has logged more than 65,000 flights — approximately 13 million miles to provide free air transportation to people in need of medical care.
Barbara Sica, one of volunteers with AFNE, said the organization provides transportation not only for children but adults as well. Services are offered for as long and as often as needed.
Sica said the group is working with survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing, including Celeste Corcoran and Jeff Bauman, to arrange transportation from Boston to Florida so they can receive new prosthetics. This is possible through JetBlue.
Sica recently answered a few questions for the Advocate.
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How did Angel Flight Northeast begin?
As a retired business owner and an avid private pilot flying out of the Beverly Airport in Beverly, Larry Camerlin heard stories about patients having difficulty accessing health care away from home. He combined his love of flying with his background in health care and ministry to establish an Angel Flight hub in New England to serve patients primarily living in the northeastern states.
He founded Angel Flight NE in March 1996. Early on, Angel Flight Northeast used a small office space donated by the Beverly Flight Center so the organization’s flight operations had a home. The mission started with 10 volunteer pilots and two requests for flights.
How are flights requested?
Angel Flight NE’s mission coordinators are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist patients with flight coordination.
How quick can AFNE respond to a request?
Our mission coordination team responds to flight requests as quickly as possible. Depending on the complexity of the flight, most requests can be filled within 72 hours. There are instances in particular when it comes to organ transplants where the flight needs to take place quickly, given that time is essential. Angel Flight NE’s volunteer pilots are amazing, and when an urgent request is made they’re there to assist. We also have a partnership with commercial airlines partners such as JetBlue, Cape Air and PenAir. They provide Angel Flight NE patients with available seats on their aircraft when medical treatment is beyond Angel Flight NE’s geographic boundaries or the weather hinders general aviation planes from flying.
How many volunteers make up AFNE?
Angel Flight Northeast has more than 1,000 volunteer pilots who donate their planes, fuel and time to assist patients in need. We then have our Earth Angels, who donate their cars, time and fuel to transport patients to and from the airport from medical care facilities, hospitals, etc.
We are always looking for more volunteers to join our mission. Whether you’re a pilot, own a car to participate in our Earth Angels program or would like to assist with one of our fundraising events, we welcome any assistance possible.
How can people volunteer?
Just call us at 978-794-6868. We welcome any and all volunteer assistance.
Tell us about the Ride for Angels.
The Ride for Angels is a noncompetitive charity cycling event, fun for all riding abilities. On Sept. 13, a group of cyclists will embark on one of several length rides throughout northeastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire to raise funds and awareness of Angel Flight NE’s mission. All donations benefit Angel Flight NE.
Together, we are “changing lives one mile at a time.”
How much money must be raised each year to make Angel Flight possible?
Every year, Angel Flight Northeast needs to raise nearly $1 million to support its mission. These funds are used to support the office operations, particularly mission coordination, which is available 24 hours each day, seven days a week. As well, it assists with general operating costs such as fundraising, corporate development, hospital outreach and marketing/public relations. Funds are raised by applying for numerous grants (the Cummings Foundation is a supporter of Angel Flight NE), partnering with corporate sponsors such as Hasbro, Reading Co-operative, Edgewater Technology, Safran Morpho, Breitling, BAE Systems and many more.
Ride for Angels
WHEN Sunday, Sept. 13
WHERE Lawrence Municipal Airport in North Andover.
ON THE WEB http://rideforangels.info
EVENING OF ANGELS GALA
WHERE Seaport Hotel, 1 Seaport Lane, Boston
WHEN Friday, Nov. 20. This is Angel Flight NE’s largest fundraising event, with the goal to raise funds and awareness. WCVB is the media sponsor with news anchor Erika Tarantal serving as host and Billy Costa as celebrity auctioneer.
TICKETS $150 per person
ON THE WEB angelflightne.org