Cambridge based charity Please Take Me There offers free flights to seriously ill children
Families can apply for free flights at the Cambridge Charity’s Website
In October, Please Take Me There will pilot the ‘Fly Me There’ programme in the Cambridgeshire region (Cambridge and neighbouring counties). We will offer children and their families, with cancer and other serious conditions, the opportunity to fly, for free, to medical consultations, family gatherings and much-needed recreational activities. Flights will be within the British Isles, or to France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland.
Please Take Me There is working with local charities, hospitals and hospices to ensure the air service can help as many families as possible during the one-month pilot phase. Families can also apply direct, online, via the Please Take Me There website, and we'll endeavour to assist as many families as they can, although places will be limited.
The small Cessna plane will be based at Cambridge International Airport. A group of highly experienced, volunteer pilots will fly the plane, which is on loan for one month. The aim, subject to fundraising, is to convert this pilot programme to an ongoing service - offering children/teenagers with cancer (or other life-limiting conditions) and their families free access to air transport all year round.
‘There is a real need for this service, and running the pilot programme for one month will help us to highlight that need, as well as help as many families as we can.’ Commented Fernando Pinho, founder of Please Take Me There. ‘We are contacted regularly by desperate families, who can’t afford the high cost of travelling to treatment or to see family when they have sick children. Long car or train journeys are really challenging and often impossible. This could be easily solved with short, direct flights and we are committed to helping as many families as we can with this service. Our goal is to raise enough funds to be able to run this programme all year around – and with the support of the local community we really hope we can do this.’
Fulfilling a Need
Specialist consultants and treatment centres are located all around the country for all sorts of childhood conditions. A study carried out by the cancer charity CLIC Sargent, highlighted that parents spend an average of £600 in additional expenses per month and that the majority of these expenses are travel related. There is little to no financial support available for these travel costs, and families have to raise funds themselves. Often, air travel is the best and fastest option for a child who needs to get, for example, from Cambridge to Manchester to see a consultant. However, children with cancer usually have compromised immune systems, so travelling on a public plane is dangerous. A large, crowded plane can cause fatigue and nausea, plus airline tickets are expensive, and there are travel restrictions imposed by many airlines.
What the pilot Programme will offer
From October 1st to October 30th Flights are available to residents in Cambridgeshire and beyond who are suffering from a serious condition and under financial pressure. The service doesn’t offer emergency transport or an air ambulance service. Here are just some examples of how Please Take Me There can help:
Take people to non-emergency medical appointments at specialist hospitals or clinics that are otherwise inconvenient and expensive to reach.
Bring family members or friends to help provide much needed emotional or other support.
Take individuals to visit more remotely-located family members with whom they might otherwise not be able to spend time with
Facilitate dream trips such as Alton Towers or Disneyland Paris or exploring a new city.
Or maybe fulfil a dream to simply take a flight and fly above the clouds and enjoy the experience
The flights will be primarily within the UK and occasionally to France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland. We regretfully cannot accommodate longer journeys in our small aeroplane.
About Please Take Me There
Fernando Pinho founded Please Take Me There in 2014, a pilot himself, he realised there was no charity focusing specifically on the lack of adequate transport that affects over one billion people all over the world, and becomes of critical importance when sick children need to get to medical care or family. The charity has assisted with over 2,600 journeys, and helps 60 families every month.