By Christina Correa, Intern, Old Dominion University
When nine-year-old Cassidy arrived for her Angel Flight to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, pilot John Billings was excited and waiting to greet her with a teddy bear. Although the flight was spontaneous, as she had to go for treatment unexpectedly when her blood counts were too low due to her illness, Angel Flight was responsive and ready to help her in any way they could.
“The pilot was working back and forth with me throughout the course of that day,” said Cassidy’s father, Kenneth. “They are always very quick to find flights, and we’ve had no problems finding flights and pilots.”
Cassidy was recently diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of cancer that begins in the bones. She is now five treatments in and has been a beneficiary of Angel Flight throughout. With Johns Hopkins being a four-and-a-half hour drive from the family’s hometown of Forest, Virginia, Angel Flight has helped them significantly with transportation for Cassidy’s treatments.
Kenneth and his wife Kimberly are grateful for the fact that from a young age, their daughter Cassidy was always very active and athletic. She quickly became involved in many activities at her church as well as sports such as karate, running, swimming, and cheering. It is because of her active lifestyle that they were able to catch the cancer quickly.
“Her knee began to bother her when running, so we took her to our pediatrician,” said Kenneth. When her doctor suspected ligament damage, she was sent to an orthopedic doctor for an MRI, and that was when they noticed some abnormalities. After later being sent to an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Virginia, Cassidy tested positive for osteosarcoma in her knee.
Luckily, the doctors were able to catch the cancer before it spread anywhere else. Although Cassidy has currently had to postpone her athletic activities because the cancer has weakened her knee, she continues to smile. She is described as a sweet, polite little girl with a beautiful smile who loves to be with friends and family.