MARCH 27, 2018, BY LACEY LETT OKLAHOMA CITY – Private Jets, Inc. has been transporting organs for the past ten years and have delivered around 600 life-saving organs.
The plane opens doors to patients like Kaelyn Thompson who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 20 months old.
“It affects your pancreas, your stomach and your kidneys, your liver, basically everything, but the main organ that it affects is your lungs,” Thompson said.
Five years ago, the situation became life-threatening for Thompson when she went in for surgery to remove her gallbladder and kidney stones.
Kaelyn received new lungs after just a day and a half on the donor list.
But her body eventually rejected those lungs, and in 2016, she received another pair of lungs. This time, her body accepted them.
“It has saved my life and it has given me almost five years extra with my family and my friends, counting both transplants,” Thompson said.
And at Wiley Post is how nonprofit LifeShare transports many of those crucial organs.
“They’ll harvest an organ whether it be a heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, eyes, tissue and we’ll wait at the airport until they’re finished and then fly them home,” Chief Pilot for Private Jets, Inc. Bryant Blanco said.
It’s a time-sensitive endeavor – every hour counts when an organ is outside of the body.
“It was one of those things where you drop what you’re doing, get a phone call to go to the airport. The ambulance comes and you put it on the plane and you go,” Blanco said.
Candy Lovin coordinates the flights with the organ donation organization which is a sometimes a stressful process.
“We never know if it’s going to make it or not and they’ll call us and tell us that they made it with the organ and the organ was transplanted, so it’s really rewarding,” Lovin said.
Giving a new purpose to the pilots always on standby.
“That part of the flying that we do is genuinely the most rewarding flying that I’ve ever experienced. It’s much different, like I said, than flying for a kid’s birthday. It’s very rewarding to know you have a hand in saving a person’s life,” Blanco said.
For Lovin, this part of her job is very personal. Kaelyn is her niece.