ANGELS carried Beccky Johns to her regular hospital visit in Melbourne on the morning of Monday, 8 May 2006.

Beccky was born with a kidney disorder, which has meant constant commuting over the past 13 years between Bendigo and Melbourne for the youngster and her family.

Last year, her father, Paul, donated a kidney. She was on dialysis for up to 10 hours a day, for eight months, leading up to the transplant. Beccky finally received her new kidney two days after her 12th birthday, but within 24 hours she lost blood supply and consequently 80 per cent of her kidney.

Yet anyone who has come across the pint-sized battler will tell you she wasn't going to give up without a fight. "The doctors didn't think she would be able to keep this little bit of her kidney," said Beccky's mother, Sue. "They thought that as the rest of it died it would poison her body and they would remove it," Mrs Johns said. "But Beccky said no, and she is a great believer in positive thinking - and she has kept it. Doctors thought that if she was to keep it, it would only last two months then she would be back on dialysis. Well, we are nearly 18 months down the track now."

However, Beccky's battle to save her kidney has been a burden for the Johns family. The cost of regular trips to the Monash Hospital in Clayton, in Melbourne's south-east - and the physical strain felt by Beccky, her parents and sister, Tara - have taken their toll.

Mrs Johns said Angel Flight, were alerted to their situation after they were approached by St Vincent de Paul to speak on the effect of their regular travels to Melbourne. "As a consequence of that a gentleman in Melbourne contacted Angel Flight who, in turn, called us," she said.

Beccky was the first Bendigo resident to have an Angel Flight.

It's a small reward for the bright-eyed 13-year-old, who has felt the effects of a lifetime spent in and out of hospitals. "I'm going to Melbourne, to the hospital, for another check-up," she said. "I'm coping pretty well and feeling strong. It has an effect on my school work, because I keep having to catch up."

Beccy with her Angel Flight bear, ready to take off with Jack.

Beccky arrived safe and well at Bendigo Airport in the afternoon, having achieved the milestone of being Angel Flight's first passenger from Bendigo. The flight was quicker than even Angel pilot Jack Moore expected, with the wait at the Monash Medical Centre shorter than anticipated.

For Beccky and her mother, Sue, the trip was unbelievable. Sue said that at the time they arrived home, they would usually still have been waiting in traffic to get across the Bolte Bridge. "I can't believe it," she said. "I'm at home and cooking dinner. Being able to be home in daylight and not being so tired and worn out is great. "Beccky would usually be asleep in the back of the car, and the trip really wore her out for school. Beccky had a great time on the Angel flight. "Flying back in the clouds was great," she said, "but on the way down I was counting how many houses had swimming pools." She added: "There were 28."

Angel Flight pilot and fellow Bendigo resident Jack Moore said it was a privilege to be of service to those in need. "It is always a nice thing to do, and it's good to see a local person being able to utilise the Angel Flight facility," Mr Moore said. "Flight conditions had been smooth. Skies were clear on the trip down, with thick cloud cover on the return leg. She (Beccky) was picking out Telstra Dome and the MCG on the way down. There was no need for the flight to deviate because the flight path went directly to Moorabbin Airport from Bendigo, straight over Melbourne Airport. They (Melbourne air traffic control) are always pretty good when it comes to Angel Flights."

"It's very rewarding. It was only my third Angel Flight, but the two before have been for the same boy, in Albury, and seeing that his condition had improved immensely the second time was a joy. I feel very privileged to be able to fly as much as I do. And to be able to use the aircraft for a service such as this is great."

Angel flight 1 & 2 by Jack Moore
This is Jack's 3rd & 4th Angel flights
Previous mission for Jack - M641 AF2.

Jack Moore - Pilot


Gary Mitchell - Earth Angel
(Gary's 2nd & 3rd Angel flights)

Dear Angel Flight,

Here are some copies of the news articles.

Beccky still has a beautiful smile on her face, as we all have actually, thanks to such a wonderful day. Not only are we glad for the fact that we were only brain tired from all that we had done in the hospital, but not physically tired from all the driving for the day, we are so glad that it gave us an opportunity to see Beccky experience such a fantastic delight. Special memories are always very precious.

Thank you again for all that you have done for us.

Sue Johns.

(Click here to read the article from the Bendigo Advertiser 9/05/2006, page 1 and page 2)

(Click here to read the article from the Herald Sun, 8/05/2006, page 14, and page 15.)