It was a beautiful evening, smooth air, sparkling taxiway and runway lights, quiet. Raistlin and his parents, two sisters, and a friend all arrived for their second year Bravo night flight. Everyone was excited. It had been a few years since their last flight, the time punctuated by cancer treatment and hospital stays, and the whole family was happy to be back at the airport finally.
Raistlin encouraged his youngest sister, who was slightly more nervous than the others, and just wanted to ride along while Raistlin flew. He reminded her how fun it had been before, and how good she was at it. She was quiet, but seemed to appreciate his encouragement.
Just then, a medical emergency helicopter landed to refuel, and Raistlin struck up a conversation with the crew. He explained that he once had to be flown by helicopter to the hospital, and thanked the team for the work they do. The head of the helicopter team shook his hand, and offered to give him a walk-through of the equipment. They all went out to the helicopter, and Raistlin came back with a smile on his face, ready to jump in the airplane.
It really struck me that we just never know what part of our programming experience will be the most impactful for a Courageous Flier. Often, it is the actual flying and being in control of an airplane. Sometimes, it is the reminder that other people have struggled with health challenges, too, and that there are lots of people out there working to support them. I am always so grateful to be one of the group of people who are helping to build confidence for kids like Raistlin.