Pilot gives boy lifesaving flight

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – A volunteer pilot from Michigan gave a lifesaving flight out of Chesapeake to boy with leukemia.

Four-year-old Brady Fessler was with his parents on vacation in Virginia Beach when he came down with a fever. His parents took him to a local hospital and found out he has leukemia.

“We were vacationing in Sandbridge when this happened,” said Brady’s mom, Mary. “He had just been fevering, wasn’t feeling well, had been bruising very easily … It was there they decided to run blood tests and diagnosed him with leukemia … This was something that just kind of really blindsided us and walloped the entire family.”

And Brady’s problems didn’t end there.

The family learned he had a staph infection, which requires antibiotics for 14 days, twice a day. The Fesslers, wanting to get home to Olmstead Falls, Ohio, knew administering the medication in a car wasn’t a viable solution. Nor was using public transportation, because Brady’s immune system is very weak.

That brought the family to Hampton Roads Executive Airport on Thursday. Brady and his mom are flying home courtesy of LifeLine Pilots, a group whose mission is to provide free air transportation to people with financial, medical or humanitarian needs.

LifeLine Pilot Joe Nirta flew all the way from Michigan to help the Fesslers.

“Flying is something I love, and helping people is something Iove. So, combine the two, it’s a perfect situation,” Nirta said.

Shelly Livengood with LifeLine Pilots said their pilots volunteer both their time and aircraft with help from donations.

“It’s a mixed feeling, obviously it’s both super rewarding and still kind of gives you a sense of reality that there are people out there with much bigger problems than you,” Nirta said. “Gives me a sense of satisfaction, and I know it helps them tremendously.”

10 On Your Side was there as they prepared for take-off. Mary Fessler told us they’ve received a positive diagnosis for Brady’s outcome.

LifeLine Pilots was founded in 1981 and has been providing free air transportation all over the country. If you want to lean more about the organization, click here.

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