A nonprofit organization is helping take a boy from his home here in the Valley to Ohio for life-changing surgery.
Aeroangel is a nonprofit that provides free jets and flights for seriously ill children and their families who need to travel for life-saving medical care. On Tuesday, a private jet took Jude Hayes and his family from Chandler Municipal Airport to Ohio, where he will have surgery on his palate to help his speech.
“This is taking a huge stress out of us,” said Courtney Hayes, Jude’s mom.
Jude was born with a heart defect and a genetic disorder which means he doesn’t have a strong immune system. Commercial air travel just isn’t possible or safe for Jude.
“With the current coronavirus surge, it’s a huge concern for us because his surgery has already been delayed three times due to his illnesses that he gets, and he really needed this surgery to happen now, so we are very thankful we can get him there safely,” said Courtney.
“Whenever I get a chance to help, it’s one of my favorite things to do is fly kids of any type and take charity flights. It’s very rewarding,” said Phelps Lane, one of the pilots who helped fly Jude to Ohio.
Chandler Air Service even donated the fuel for the trip.
“We’ve been real fortunate here in this community. We’re excited to be able to give back,” said Steve Smith from Chandler Air Service.
“It’s amazing to have people supporting us like this Aeroangel to help us to get to Ohio for Jude’s treatment. Just very fortunate, very thankful,” said Jude’s dad, Josh.
“It’s really amazing, just the empathy that they are donating their time, money, and jet. It’s really special, so we’re very thankful,” said Courtney.