|502 - BIRCHIP / ESSENDON / BIRCHIP|
FIRST ANGEL FLIGHT OUT OF BIRCHIP HELPS SEA LAKE FATHER AND SON
On Tuesday 23rd August at approximately 8.30am, Angel Flight completed its first Mission out of Birchip when seventeen-year-old Mark Jolly and his father Kevin flew to Melbourne with Angel Flight Pilot, Shaun Aisen, for whom this was his 17th Angel flight.
Since being diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in November 2004, Mark has made regular visits to Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital to receive treatment for this life-threatening condition.
Whilst this was Mark’s ninth Angel flight it was the first for his father Kevin as previously his mother Joanne has accompanied Mark out of Swan Hill.
Mr. Jolly said that this free service provided by Angel Flight pilots has given the family some relief from the financial, physical and emotional stress created by long and tiring trips by road to Melbourne.
“The journey by road can be quite hard on Mark, especially on the return journey after he’s had his treatment,” said Mr. Jolly.
“The medication can make him very ill and especially when he has undergone a lumbar puncture he finds it very uncomfortable having to sit in the car for such a long time as he is very sore.”
Whilst Mark seems to be progressing quite well with his treatment, his father said that at present his blood count is down making him prone to infections.
“This has meant that he has had to miss going to school, but on the whole he’s doing pretty good but just wants to get the treatment over and done with,” he said.
“However, depending on his blood count he still has to have weekly treatments for another nine weeks and occasionally has to stay in hospital for three or four days. But there are a lot of special people around when you’ve got a sick kid and Angel Flight are helping take a lot of hassle out of his treatment, on top of which Mark loves planes.”
Someone who understands Mark’s love of planes is Malvern East based Angel Flight pilot, Shaun Aisen, who has previously had Mark on board his plane.
“I know what it’s like to love planes as I have had a passion for flying ever since I was a child living on the approach to Moorabbin Airport,” he said.
“My first job and every one since have been in aviation, which has been extremely interesting and rewarding. Now I have the chance to return something to the community through Angel Flight and mix my passion with helping others.”
Shaun’s childhood love of planes has brought him to a place where he now owns and operates a Cirrus SR20 light aircraft based at Essendon Airport and holds a Command Instrument Rating. Flying is not only his passion but also his career. He owns and runs an Air Charter Brokerage Company, Strategic Aviation, which operates throughout the world. Married with two young boys, 8 and 5, he says he gets a lot of satisfaction out of helping Mark and his family and others like them.
“Why do I do it? Well, I suppose ultimately I get the pleasure of returning something back to the community, if I can bring pleasure to somebody else that’s good and if I can help them as well that’s even better. In fact it’s a special privilege to be able to help people by doing something you love to do,” Shaun said.
“I have done a lot of flights now and never had a bad experience. When I see the smiles on their faces and receive their feedback it’s absolutely wonderful. Those I help are truly appreciative of what is offered and the fact that it is one-to-one help is totally fulfilling for me.”
Read about a previous mission for Mark (M404)
Angel flight 1 by Shaun Aisen
Comment by Shaun
Angel flight 2 by Barrie Aarons
Comment by Barrie