Children’s Flight of Hope

By on Jul 9, 2024 in Giving

For over 30 years, this organization has worked country-wide and partnered with American Airlines so sick children can get the services and help they need.

Nova and children's flight for hope

The Children’s Flight of Hope was established in 1991 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Since its inception, it has been unwavering in its dedication to reducing the health disparities for children grappling with rare and intricate medical conditions. This commitment continues to inspire all who encounter it.

“We believe distance and cost of travel should never be barriers to life-changing and life-saving care. We, therefore, provide commercial air travel for very ill children and a parent or guardian to centers of healthcare excellence in the United States,” explained Pat Nelli, CEO and president of Children’s Flight of Hope.

From its headquarters and only office in Raleigh, Children’s Flight of Hope serves children from across the country and 30 other countries. Families in medical crises face many emotional and financial burdens, and their paths can be long and challenging on many levels. Once medical and financial needs are verified, Children’s Flight of Hope eases these burdens by providing flights to specialists as often as a family may need. Children’s Flight of Hope has provided more than 100 flights for children.

In 2023, flight volume dramatically increased, and in May 2023, Children’s Flight of Hope had over 200 flights. In February 2024, Children’s Flight of Hope had an organizational high of 259 flights! Therefore, its top priority is to ensure they welcome new families and serve them throughout their healthcare journey. Children’s Flight of Hope is working to focus on expansion to its staff and board members and committees, so they are keenly focused on growth and ensuring resources keep pace. Other areas they are focused on are technology improvements and target marketing.

Yardi funding from last year provided 15 round trips for children to receive critically needed care and for the accompanying guardian.

“Yardi’s donation was an unexpected and welcome surprise and meant so much during this time of unprecedented growth. It is one of the examples we use in our development committee and marketing conversations regarding the endless opportunities when we expand awareness, share our impactful story, and invite others to join in bringing this care within reach,” said Nelli.

She continued, “It has also been an example we learned from: Are we doing enough to thank our corporate partners? During this busy time, we must be sure Yardi and others know the depth of our gratitude.”

Nova’s Journey

Nova and Childrens Flight for Hope_

At just six months old, Nova was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare pediatric cancer that affects less than 1,000 children a year in the US. Through travel to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, Nova had surgeries and a variety of treatments, and one year later, doctors shared the powerful words that she was NED—no evidence of disease. After initially taking 44 flights provided by Children’s Flight of Hope, Nova now travels several times a year for a clinical vaccine trial to ensure she stays cancer-free.

“And thanks to the kindness of many, Children’s Flight of Hope will be there for Nova and her family every time they turn to us,” expressed Nelli.

Volunteer Opportunities

Children’s Flight of Hope has limited volunteer opportunities due to the nature of their work. However, they are open to volunteer opportunities at its three local events and volunteers for its committee and board leadership.

One event is Hops for Hope, which pairs 30 breweries with 30 companies in a team competition to raise funds for its mission and to create a signature beer. This culminates with a public festival in September. Company teams usually have at least ten members and are led by a team captain. For event involvement, please get in touch with Heather Miller, Director of Community Engagement at [email protected].

“We are committed to taking thoughtful and strategic steps to expand our national awareness and impact. We recognize and appreciate everything we do because others trust us to be good stewards of their philanthropy, and we take this responsibility very seriously,” shared Nelli.

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