April 15, 2016

Corporate Angel Network (CAN) – which arranges free transportation for cancer patients traveling to treatment centers by using the empty seats on business jets – celebrated its 50,000th patient flight on April 14.

The milestone mission – which was conducted by NBAA member NCR Corporation, the consumer transactions technology company headquartered in Duluth, GA – involved flying Baron Yerby, 1, and his parents, Johnathan and Casey Yerby, back home to Atlanta, GA from Teterboro Airport (TEB) following Baron’s treatment at New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Baron Yerby was diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma, a rare eye cancer, when he was just a few months old. After undergoing six months of treatments in Atlanta, all of his local treatment options were exhausted. Since October 2015, Baron has been undergoing specialized treatment at Sloan Kettering, flying to New York and back on CAN flights.

“CAN flights enable the Yerbys to access the best possible treatment for their specific type of cancer, experience less emotional stress and avoid crowded, germ-laden [commercial] airports, which are potentially dangerous to Baron’s compromised immune system,” said Peter H. Fleiss, executive director emeritus of CAN.

“The people at Corporate Angel Network are very caring, dedicated and on top of everything,” said Johnathan Yerby, Baron’s father. “The logistics and communications that they facilitate are incredible. It seems too good to be true, but it is true.”

Remembering his family’s first flight with NCR, Johnathan Yerby said, “When we arrived at NCR, it was surreal how nice everyone was, and how we were treated like we were important. We felt cared for the entire time we were with the NCR team. The hospitality was beyond anything we would have ever anticipated.”

“Giving back to communities in which we operate is interwoven in the fabric of NCR’s 132-year, rich history,” said Andrea Ledford, executive vice president, chief administration office and chief human resources officer for NCR.

NCR’s Don Walker and Doug Gerdes piloted the historic April 14 flight. “I think it’s a privilege to do this,” Walker said.

The 50,000th CAN patient trip comes nearly 35 years after the organization’s inaugural flight, which was conducted by the late Leonard Greene, founder of White Plains, NY-based Safe Fight Instrument Corp., who used his company’s King Air to transport a patient at Sloan Kettering, back home to Detroit for Christmas.

Since CAN’s first flight in 1981, the 501(c)(3) organization, has provided free air transportation to people whose best treatment options are often thousands of miles from home. Volunteers, and a small paid staff based at Westchester County Airport (HPN) in White Plains, NY, coordinate the medical travel needs of patients with the scheduled flight activity of more than 500 participating companies, including half the Fortune 100, resulting in approximately 225 to 250 patient flights per month.

CAN’s co-founders – Priscilla Blum and Jay Weinberg – won NBAA’s 1993 Doswell Award for lifetime service in pursuit of the association’s goals. CAN has been the beneficiary of fund-raising efforts by NBAA. Most recently, $505,000 was raised through the NBAA/CAN Soiree, an annual charity benefit that was held during the association’s 2015 annual convention.

Learn more about CAN.