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Angel Flight volunteer pilots fly sick patients to their appointments

A little girl who is battling a rare disease isn't on her journey alone. Along with her family, she's fighting this m...

Posted: Apr 27, 2018 9:44 AM
Updated: Apr 27, 2018 9:44 AM

A little girl who is battling a rare disease isn't on her journey alone. Along with her family, she's fighting this medical battle with her own angels at her side.

And the pilots of the Angel Flight Network are ready to fly high at a moment's notice.

Her name is Kanynn and she's almost five years old. She likes chicken nuggets, ice cream and her dogs. It's impossible to tell she is a sick little girl.

"She sees 22 different specialists at Seattle Children's hospital," said Kanynn's mother Jamie Vanisko. "We've been 74 times and any trauma she experiences, she doesn't recover."

She has a condition that's left a gap in her skull, but doctors can't fix it because her little body can't handle the stress of anesthesia. It's complicated because Kanynn also has tumors throughout her body.

"Nobody has a reason for it. We've seen several different doctors," Vanisko said. "They call it Kanynn's Syndrome because nobody has an answer."

But as they wait for a miracle on the ground, they already have angles in the air. The Angel Flight Network uses volunteer pilots to fly the sick to their medical appointments out of state, free of charge.

Michael Burks is a pilot and learned about Angel Flight from an ad he saw on Facebook.

"l love flying and I love helping," Burks said. "It's always been a passion of mine. I want to be used. I want to be able to use all the blessings that I have to help other people."

The network is a lifesaver for this single mom, as getting from her hometown of Butte to Seattle so often incurs major costs.

"I was never one to ask for help. Ever," Vanisko said. "We did a lot of trips before I found out about it. It's a great program and one that I didn't know about until all this happened."

Burks was just recognized as the Angel Flight West Pilot of the year for flying 23 missions last year. He's encouraging other pilots to step up because they get to fly more often and really help those who need it.

"There's pilots all over the state that probably don't even know about this as well. So hopefully this gets out to, not only patients, but pilots so that we can just keep increasing the amount of flights," Burks said.

The pilots and their patients form a bond up in the air. Up there it's easy to forget your problems and view the world from a different perspective. It's a bright moment for a mom just trying to save her daughter.

"For now, I've decided to just let her be a kid. There have been many trips where we thought she wouldn't come home, but then she did. We just don't know."

Angel Flight West is the branch of the organization that serves the Montana region.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 574231

Reported Deaths: 10476
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2105434998
Riverside41983820
Orange40527726
San Bernardino36072546
San Diego32975594
Kern24440171
Fresno17846171
Alameda13631209
San Joaquin12864223
Santa Clara12694205
Sacramento12040177
Tulare10862196
Stanislaus10264169
Imperial9693244
Contra Costa9404139
Ventura863492
San Francisco762367
Santa Barbara670469
San Mateo6318120
Merced573670
Monterey544635
Marin540481
Kings445356
Solano427441
Sonoma367047
Madera246339
Placer231922
San Luis Obispo225416
Yolo183444
Santa Cruz12436
Butte12388
Napa107411
Sutter9527
San Benito7654
El Dorado7552
Lassen6830
Yuba6464
Mendocino47210
Shasta45910
Colusa3914
Glenn3603
Nevada3571
Humboldt2864
Tehama2761
Lake2402
Amador1822
Mono1581
Tuolumne1553
Calaveras1471
Inyo1063
Siskiyou1020
Del Norte1000
Mariposa622
Plumas360
Modoc50
Trinity50
Sierra40
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Chico
Few Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 72°
Oroville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 72°
Paradise
Few Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 72°
Chester
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 70°
Red Bluff
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 97° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 75°
Willows
Few Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 98° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 72°
We won't be as hot today, but the threat of thunderstorms will result in elevated fire danger this afternoon and tonight. The heat ramps up through your extended forecast.
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