BUCKHANNON, WV (WBOY) — Angel Flight East is a non-profit that charts hundreds of flights each year to get medical patients to their treatment, all free of charge.
George Tenney, 66, is one of these patients. A lung cancer survivor from Upshur County, Tenney has flown with Angel Flight over 100 times to get to his chemotherapy treatments at the Cancer Treatment Center of America in Zion, Illinois.
“I’ve been going up there for three years now. I first went up when I was terminal. I’ve been in remission now for a few months, I think like eight months,” Tenney said.
“Angel Flight, Cancer Treatment Center of America saved my life.”
Tenney was diagnosed with melanoma several years ago which later developed into lung cancer. He had a tumor in his esophagus, one in his lower right lung, and two more in his upper lungs.
Tenney said he originally didn’t want to seek treatment but was convinced by his daughter who works in the medical field. It’s thanks to her that Tenney learned of the Cancer Treatment Center of America.
At first, Tenney would drive to Illinois to get treatment, which from Buckhannon is about a 10-12 hour drive. Without Angel Flight, Tenney does not think he would have been able to survive.
“I don’t like the idea of having cancer, I don’t like going up there, but it’s something you gotta do to live,” Tenney said.
On Friday, Tenney was flown back from Chicago by Scott Miller, one of the many volunteer pilots who donate their time and personal aircraft to make sure people like George Tenney can receive life-saving treatment.
Miller has been working with Angel Flight for four years and said he got very involved during the COVID-19 pandemic because he wasn’t able to fly around with his friends. He first heard about the organization from another pilot and said it’s one of the most rewarding things he’s ever done.
“The people are what stick out the most—little babies, young mothers. I’ve been flying George for maybe a year and a half and his background is interesting, to say the least, and it’s always a good time,” Miller said.
“Everybody’s got such a good outlook on life, and many are in very tough circumstances.”
On his own, Miller said he’s probably flown anywhere between 50-100 flights with the program.
For anyone in need, you can go to the Angel Flight website to fill out a short questionnaire to find an available flight.