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Welcome to the Indianapolis, IN Pilots For Kids homepage. Learn how to get involved and participate in Pilots For Kids activities in the Indianapolis, IN area.
Just a quick update....
We have already brought some holiday cheer to 50 kids this year spread between Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital and the IU North hospital visits. We have some new faces this year and I hope this continues in the years to come. We still have 4 visits left this year, they are as follows:
14 Dec...Riley Children’s Hospital Downtown at 1:30 pm.
17 Dec...St. Mary’s Children’s Center Ft. Ben location at 9:30 am. No slot limit
18 Dec...St. Mary’s Children’s Center Downtown at 9:30 am. No slot limit
20 Dec...The Wayne Township Preschool at 10:00 am. No slot limit
Please reach out to me if you can join us at any of these events this year. I also encourage you to let your fellow pilots know about what we are so we can add to our “Pilot Group”. Thank you all for your charitable donations this year, they will go a long way in helping get kids Christmas presents. Thank you for all your help.
The Dedication and Grand Opening of our PFK Airplane Room took place on May 18th, 2018. About 65 Indy PFK members and their families attended. Executive management from FedEx Express, Republic Airways Holdings, FedEx ALPA, Peyton Manning Children's Hospital, and the St. Vincent Foundation were also in attendance. Professional photographers from FedEx, Republic, and the hospital were there to record the event. The reception opened in the lobby with a prayer and dedication of the room by the hospital chaplain. Following the opening dedication, Dr. Marandi of Peyton Manning Children's Hospital, Nancy Frick of the St. Vincent Foundation and Captain Dan of Indy PFK all spoke. After the reception, there was another dedication at the room by the hospital chaplain and then the ribbon cutting. The room was then opened for tours and pictures. Please take a look at the picture gallery below.
Please join me on Friday, May 18th at 11AM as we celebrate the dedication and grand opening of our Pilots For Kids/Airplane themed room at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital. All PFK members and their families are invited.
The reception will begin in the lobby with light refreshments and an opening prayer by the hospital chaplain. The president of St. Vincent Hospital, the president of PMCH, Nancy Frick from the St. Vincent Foundation, and I will each say a few words. Then a group will go upstairs for the ribbon cutting and blessing of the room followed by groups of guests going up to see the room for a tour and photos. The entire program should take about 45 minutes.
I sincerely hope you can attend the grand opening in order to see what your generosity has helped produce.
Please let me know if you are planning to attend, how many will be in your party, and please feel free to contact me anytime with any questions or concerns.
We met 112 people, including parents and siblings at our Riley Children's Hospital event this year (December 15th). All of the kids have a personal and special story but please allow me to share the individual stories of two heroic kids who were there: Christian and Hope. Spending the afternoon with them and brightening their day encapsulates the reason that Indy PFK does what it does.
It was Christian's 54th day in the hospital. His diagnosis was a rare form of pediatric glioma (brain cancer) known as BRAF Fusion, PXA grade three. The particular gene mutation within his glioma, however, has never been seen before. Christian is the first person known to medical science to have this form of brain cancer. He's six. He has had three brain surgeries and one lung surgery since being admitted to Riley. His dad told me that two weeks ago he couldn't stand, walk, talk, raise his left arm, or utilize fine motor skills. When we met him he was talking more than a EWR approach controller during rush hour. He took our 727 yoke in both hands and "flew" wherever he went in the room. He wanted to know what all the buttons and switches did (he asked me if the mic switch was for launching missiles). He was laughing and visibly excited to be there. But here's why I'm relaying this story: When Christian was painting his wooden airplane at the craft station, his mom approached me and told me that Christian hasn't laughed or smiled since they have been in the hospital. Then she told me that Christian just told her that he was "so happy that he was shaking".
Hope is eight years old. Her mom told me that Hope has a congenital defect in which one side of the heart is severely underdeveloped resulting in being born with essentially half a heart. Hope has also recently had a stroke which has resulted in her inability to speak. She can understand everything that is said, however. She and her mother have developed a remarkable "language" with each other where Hope uses hand signals and sounds. For some inexplicable reason, Hope loves to be around pilots. She loves flying as a passenger with her mom and she loves to go to the flight deck and hang out with the pilots before and after their flights. Her mom told me that she and Hope attended our Riley event last year and couldn't wait for it to happen again this year. Hope's smile lit up the room and she even wore her special airline captain uniform for the occasion (see pic). She insisted on an individual picture with each of our pilots. Then she wanted a group picture with four or five of the pilots. Then she wanted a group shot with her and all of the pilots. Hope got whatever she wanted. She really wants to be a pilot someday so we had to make that happen too. We made Hope an honorary FedEx captain with seniority effective December 15, 2017. We are lucky to have her.
It's your generosity of time, treasure, spirit and energy that makes it possible for us to enjoy the honor and privilege of spending time with kids like Hope and Christian. Special thanks to Mike Meskis for coordinating an outstanding Riley Holiday Party again this year. And thank YOU for making this, and all of our events throughout the year possible.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year.
Many thanks to long-time Indy PFK member Chris Fuson for coordinating both of our St. Mary's Child Care Center visits this year. Here's the recap from Chris:
This year we were able to spread Christmas joy to over 150 kids spread between two separate St. Mary's Children Centers.
We kicked the school visiting season off with a visit to the downtown campus with 10 pilots from American, Delta, Fedex, Republic, and United Airlines. During our visit, we wowed the kids with our personal stories of flying, gave them "flying lessons", and read airplane stories. We were very fortunate to get some donated airplane parts from FedEx which allowed the kids to touch some gauges, flip some switches, and hold a 727 flight yoke. Our normal drone pilot could not attend, so we had to call up a reserve to fly it, which made for only a few CFITs.
Our next visit had us visit the Ft. Ben Campus. Manned with 12 pilots from American, Delta, Fedex, Republic, and United, we visited approximately 100 kids. We again were able to read some stories, share some flying experiences, and give the kids some "flying lessons". With nearly two hours allotted for us, we were also able to spend some much needed time with these kids, which allowed for our inner kid got to come out. We passed out the gifts, some pilot hats and sunglasses, and had some airplane races with little airplane toys.
I would personally like to Thank everyone who was able to attend our school sessions this year. We would not be able to do this without you guys. Thank you again!!
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Events from the past year are displayed here. Please check below this section to see if pictures from these events are posted!
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Dedication and Grand Opening, PFK Airplane Room, Peyton Manning Children's Hospital
Pictures from our May 18th, 2018 Dedication and Grand Opening of our PFK Airplane Room at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital in Indianapolis
2017, Riley Children's Hospital
2017, St Mary's Child Care Centers
2017, Peyton Manning Children's Hospital
2017, IU Riley North
PFK/Airplane Room work in progress pics
PFK/Airplane Room work in progress pics
Donor Reception With Peyton Manning
PFK/Airplane Room at PMCH...a few pics
The hand and door of the room...
PFK Airplane room plans at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital
Riley Children's Hospital, 16 DEC 2016
Riley downtown, in the Child Life Room
St. Mary's Child Care Center, FT. Ben Campus, 2016
139 kids, 15 pilots, three spouses. Not sure who had more fun...
Peyton Manning Children's Hospital, 2016
PMCH, 09 December, 2016
IU Riley North, 2016
IU Riley North visit, 07 December
St. Mary's 2016
St Mary's Child Care Center, downtown, 2016
Indy PFK 2016 season Opener
Riley Children's Hospital, 2015
St. Mary's Child Care Center, FT. Ben Campus, 2015
St. Mary's Child Care Center, Downtown Campus, 2015
IU Riley North, 2015
Peyton Manning Children's Hospital, 2015
Tribute to Art Hiatt