No One Plans to Die in Their Thirties

No one plans to die in their thirties. Yet Marcus, Founder and Executive Director of Flight1, was forced to face that in 2010. He was told that he may have a rare form of cancer that had a prognosis of only 2-10 years. How does one move forward, knowing you may only have a few years left? What do you do with your remaining time?
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With a wife and two young sons, his thoughts tumbled frantically, finding no reprieve from this harsh truth he was forced to face. When others were thinking about playdates and soccer games, he was thinking about what he could leave behind so that his sons remembered their father. His mind a whirlwind of thoughts, Marcus found comfort in a memory of his youth; flying in an airplane with his father. The first time he took the controls on his own, was an experience that gave him strength and brought him courage; the courage he tapped into to get through the possibility of leaving his sons fatherless.
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Luckily, Marcus’s diagnosis was much less serious than initially expected. Yet those moments of fear, uncertainty, and doubt were real. A moment facing one’s own mortality brings a self-reflection that is life-altering. The courage that came from the time he took the controls of the plane carried him through a difficult, dark time of his life, yet with that darkness Marcus chose to create light for others. With a sense of purpose and direction, he knew that something had to be created out of this experience. And that, was the beginning of Flight1.
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So, then what does a child feel when they are told they have a lifelong illness; a child who does not yet have a full grasp of the world? How does a child deal with the death of a parent? Or a child with a disability that will never go away? We can never know nor can we predict. All we know is that they go through a time where life is turned upside-down as they face unimaginable challenges. During his time of reflection, Marcus realized one thing – that something can be given to a child facing these challenges: Courage, Hope, Joy. Marcus’s life was changed when he flew on his own, and now with Flight1, he is changing lives by giving those wings to others.