SA airline offers free flights to children in need of specialist healthcare
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Low-cost carrier FlySafair has pledged to cover the costs of 320 one-way flights over the next 10 months to non-profit organisation Wings and Wishes.
Wings and Wishes’ primary mandate is to fund and arrange the transport of children in need of specialist healthcare.
When provincial borders closed and flights grounded last year, countless families were still reliant on Wings and Wishes to ferry their chronically and critically ill children to specialist appointments around the country.
Despite the challenges, the NGO funded over a thousand trips last year.
Kirby Gordon, chief marketing officer at FlySafair, said that the airline was inspired by the actions of Wings and Wishes.
"The global crisis affected local NGO Wings and Wishes in life-threatening ways.
"Yet, the tenacious determination that the Wings and Wishes team has for everything they do is one of the reasons we wanted to partner with them. As an operator in the travel sector that is taking longer to bounce back, we see a lot of our same fighting spirit in the NGO and we wanted to be a part of that," Gordon said.
Gordon said many of the children registered with the NGO are repeat patients who require ongoing care to overcome their condition.
“The last year has given us a moment to pause and reflect on what we can do to make a meaningful difference at a time when it’s needed most. Wings and Wishes is an incredibly unique NGO filling a very urgent and pressing need that we are so suited to help with," he said.
Inge Human, manager at Wings and Wishes, said their work is based on the partnerships that they have with medical staff at hospitals throughout South Africa.
"The NGO facilitates the travel of three children and accompanying adults a day on average. To make the journey seem less daunting, Wings and Wishes gives young passengers a care package. These packages include goodies such as toiletries, pyjamas, essentials and activities for their hospital stay.
“We are very excited about our relationship with FlySafair. Their assistance will ensure that many children get the lifesaving treatment they need. By sponsoring flights throughout South Africa, the airline is giving wings to children who wish to get better and lead a healthy, normal life," said Human.