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Children’s Flight of Hope provides air transportation for children to access specialized medical care. Both commercial and private options are available, and through a partnership with American Airlines, CFOH is able to support international requests. All children must be medically stable as CFOH is not an air ambulance service and no medical support is provided during the flight. Flights are provided in three ways:
Once approved, CFOH purchases commercial airline tickets for the child and one companion (or two companions if the child is under 2 years old and considered a “lap child”). CFOH does not pay for checked luggage. Each airline maintains their own regulations and payment requirements for passenger luggage, so please contact your specific carrier prior to departure.
If a child’s physician deems that a child requires a private flight to medical reasons, CFOH pays for the services of a private air charter company or utilizes aircraft and crew donated by corporate partners. Medical equipment restrictions apply.
In April 2016, Children’s Flight of Hope began administering a portion of American Airlines “Miles for Kids in Need” program. This partnership has extended CFOH’s ability to provide support to children internationally and domestically. Children must be referred to CFOH directly from American Airlines or through an approved partner organization. To learn more about Miles for Kids in Need, visit its website or contact the program by email.
Commitment to Our Families – More Than an Air Taxi
Though our budget is not unlimited, we try very hard to live by the motto “Once a CFOH family, always a CFOH family.” We know that one appointment is not always enough to treat an illness or injury, and we’re okay with that. We strive to commit fully to each child and family we fly for as long as the child’s treatment dictates, becoming a true part of the treatment plan.
Our goal is to provide air transportation assistance in a way that brings comfort to families during their child’s medical journey. We’re a source of support that clients can rely on during life’s mot difficult times.
CFOH provides each child with a backpack care package upon their first flight with us that includes travel essentials, soft blanket, 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 seamless as possible. On private flights, a CFOH Family Flight Liaison accompanies the family on the flight to provide non-medical support to the family and pilots as needed.
While CFOH does not pay for ground transportation to and from the airport, or accommodations while receiving treatment, we are happy to connect our families with resources that will help ease other aspects of traveling. View our list of resources here to learn about other community support services that may be able to help.
Children’s Flight of Hope maintains a child-centric approach in our daily activities. In all that we do, we consider what is best for our clients, the seriously ill and injured children we serve with free air transportation. Board leadership, staff, and volunteers all strive to make the best decisions possible in accordance with our guiding principles.
CFOH provides services quickly and in a way that brings comfort to families in turmoil. We become a dependable resource that our clients can rely on during difficult time. Even when a family does not meet our criteria, we strive to connect them with other resources that can help.
CFOH works to the best of our abilities to provide prompt and courteous service to those who request our services, those who support our organization, and 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.
CFOH recognizes the importance of properly managing funds while achieving our objectives. Efforts are made in all aspects of our work to maintain cost effectiveness and responsible spending, ensuring all donor funds are used properly and efficiently.
CFOH maintains the highest level of integrity and transparency. This includes being open and honest in how donations are used, avoiding conflicts of interest, and providing organizational information publicly.
CFOH is appreciative of the many donors, volunteers, and supporters who make our mission possible. We strive to show this thankfulness in each every interaction.
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 had the knowledge to 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 carry forth 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 strive to uphold the same standards of care put in place by our founder, first president, and first pilot.
See what all we accomplished in 2017 in our official annual report, here.
Our Ground Crew and Board of Directors
Chief Executive Officer
Lori M. Smith
Director of Development