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Our Mission

Air Transportation

Children’s Flight of Hope (CFOH) provides air transportation for children to access specialized medical care. Commercial and private options are available and CFOH also supports some international requests through a partnership with American Airlines.  CFOH is not an air ambulance service and no medical support is provided during the flight. Flights are provided in three ways:

Commercial Flights

For the majority of our clients, CFOH purchases commercial airline tickets for a child and one companion once they have been approved for travel. CFOH arranges flights with all major commercial airlines. CFOH families benefit from donated miles and vouchers from individual and corporate donors, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines.

Private Charter or Corporate Donation

If a child requires a private flight for verified medical reasons, CFOH arranges and funds services through a private air charter company or acquires a flight and crew donation through our generous corporate partners. These flights assist some of our most medically vulnerable clients.

Miles for Kids in Need

Since 2016, CFOH has administered part of the American Airlines “Miles for Our Well-Being” program. This partnership has extended CFOH’s ability to provide support to children domestically and internationally. Children must be referred to CFOH directly from American Airlines or through an approved partner organization. To learn more about Miles for Our Well-Being, visit this website.

Commitment to Our Families

Though our budget is not unlimited, we make every effort to live by the motto “Once a CFOH family, always a CFOH family.” We understand that one appointment is often not enough to treat an illness or injury. Once a child has been accepted into our program, we strive to provide flights for the duration of the treatment or medical care needed, becoming a integral part of each child’s treatment plan. Our consistency brings comfort throughout a family’s medical journey.

We send each child a backpack care package before their first CFOH flight containing travel essentials, a cuddly blanket and aviation teddy bear, coloring books and details about what to expect when traveling. On commercial flights, CFOH staff contacts the airlines and airport security to ensure the day of travel is as logistically smooth as possible. On private flights, a CFOH Family Flight Liaison accompanies the family on the flight to provide any non-medical support.

While CFOH does not fund ground transportation or housing accommodations related to treatment, we encourage families to connect with other community support services like those listed here.

Guiding Principles

In all that we do, we consider what is best for the medically-vulnerable children we serve. Board leadership, staff and volunteers integrate compassion, responsiveness, safety, financial responsibility, transparency and gratitude as guides for organizational decisions and actions.


CFOH provides services with kindness, empathy and in a way that brings comfort to families facing significant stressors. We become a dependable resource that our clients can rely on during challenging times. Even when a family does not meet our criteria, we work to connect them with other useful resources.


CFOH provides prompt and courteous service to those who request our services, those who support our organization and all those with whom we interact.


CFOH recognizes the safety of our clients as paramount during all aspects of air travel provided by CFOH. Every effort is made prior to and during flights to ensure client and volunteer safety.

Financial Responsibility

CFOH recognizes the importance of properly managing funds as we achieve our mission. We maintain responsible spending and ensure that all donor funds are used properly and efficiently.


CFOH maintains the highest level of integrity and transparency. This includes being open and honest in organizational use of donations, declaring and avoiding potential conflicts of interest and proving public access to organizational information.


CFOH is appreciative of the many donors, volunteers and supporters who make our mission possible. We strive to show this gratitude daily in all of our interactions.

Our History

The idea for Children’s Flight of Hope was conceived in 1990 in Durham, NC by pilot and businessman Al Wethington. After becoming aware of several local children who had medical problems that could be treated at distant hospitals, but who lacked safe and affordable transportation to these facilities, Al knew he could help solve the problem. He put his talents to use, inviting pilots, medical personnel and community volunteers to join him. Within months, Children’s Flight of Hope was off the ground.

Incorporated as a 501(c)(3) entity in 1991, CFOH has continued to implement the mission initially defined by Al, flying hundreds of children and their families to and from medical treatments.

Al Wethington devoted many years of service to Children’s Flight of Hope and today we consistently uphold the same standards of care put in place by our founder, first president and first pilot.

Read about our 2018 accomplishments in our annual report here.

Our Ground Crew and Board of Directors


Lori M. Smith, M.Ed.
Development Director

Stephanie Thompson, MS
Program Manager

Lindsey Chitwood
Development Coordinator

Advisory Board

Rob Gooding
Vice President
Accentuate Staffing
Abel Zalcberg
ABCZ Properties, LLC

Board of Directors

Rick Gardner, Chair
RGA Investments

Deborah Nunn, Past Chair
D&H Support Solutions, Inc.

Daren Baughman
Senior Procurement Analyst
SAS Institute, Inc.

Rachid Bendali
Vice President, Global Aerospce & Defense
LORD Corporation

David Byerley
Senior Vice President
BB&T Bank

Matt Callahan
President & CEO
Callahan Construction & Development Company

Jeff Causey
Director of Operations
Causey Aviation


Gill Cooper
Commercial Relationship Manager
First Federal Bank

Jo-Anne Coombes
Vice President
Bolt PR

Joe Dillon
SharpVue Capital, LLC


Joe Elphick
3C! Packaging

Herbert Fuchs, MD
Head of Pediatric Neurosurgical Services
Duke University Medical Center

Jennifer Wade
Moe’s Southwest Grill

Stories of Hope

The greatest reward for CFOH is hearing the stories of the families weve helped.

They are stories of courage, of compassion, of love, and - most certainly - of hope.