Pilots for Patients helps people get to medical treatment | News

SHREVEPORT, La. – When you get sick the medical treatment you might need could be hours away from where you live, putting an even greater burden on you. That’s why Pilots for Patients was created.

A pilot recently landing at the Shreveport airport was carrying a patient who has to travel for life-saving treatments.

“I have a liposarcoma cancer, which is a very rare kind of cancer that’s actually not treated here in Shreveport,” said Elka Anderson, who is getting cancer treatment.

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Anderson has had to travel back and forth to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, since late October.

“My initial reaction was, whoa, this is going to be really expensive because not only do you have to travel to and from, but you have to stay there as well,” said Anderson.

Thankfully, she found Pilots for Patients, a non profit based in Monroe that takes people from the ArkLaTex to their appointments.

“We usually fly about up to 350 miles away. We have a number of pilots that are in the program and we pick patients up all over the place,” said Chap Breard, a pilot with Pilots for Patients.

“It eliminates some of the stress. I mean, you’re talking about a five-hour drive from here,” said Anderson.

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The group has helped thousands in the area.

“Just feels awesome to be able to give back to the community and give back to people that need transportation to get to where they’re going and it’s just really a good feeling,” said Breard.

Anderson said it means a lot to her.

“It’s been a blessing all the way around for something that was so horrific,” said Anderson. “When you’re coming home, the last thing you want to do is be in a car for five hours when you’re sick. You know, you’ve been taking chemo, like I take chemo for five days.”

None of the pilots in the program are paid. They donate their time, fuel and plane to help these patients.

“Any pilot I know just loves the organization. They’re very well-organized, and once they hear about it and they can make time in their schedule to do so, they’re really open to giving back and helping,” said Breard.

Pilots for Patients has flown nearly 7,500 missions since it was created in 2008.

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