By Warren L. Lowe
Joe DeMarco has been flying airplanes since he was 18 years old. He later started Wings Flights of Hope Inc., a nonprofit organization that transports people with an assortment of illnesses throughout the Northeast when treatment for their problems is not available locally.
Joe was inspired to start Wings while flying with a friend who had to pick up a child who suffered from cancer and required treatment outside his area. Wings has been in existence for 14 years. I hope more citizens will choose to get involved. Wings is funded by donations.
Seventy percent of the patients served by Wings suffer from some form of cancer but others have problems with their lungs, livers, kidneys, esophagus and hearts.
Many require transplants, including this writer. I am a frequent flyer with Wings, as I currently await a heart transplant and have been listed by United Network for Organ Sharing.
I asked Joe what motivates him the most. He said, “Being able to help people with a number of different illnesses.” Joe had flown more than 300 sick passengers before he started Wings, and has flown more than 1,800 with Wings. They fly about 260 to 380 times per year.
In our society plagued by school shootings, violent altercations, drugs, crime and political discord, Wings brings hope and the pilots, air traffic controllers and thousands of hospital workers on the ground serve as “the angels” of this story. It takes a very dedicated staff to run such a large and important organization. They help save lives every day.
As my heart condition worsens, my trips increase and Wings has been there repeatedly to answer my calls. Sometimes this is done in one day, other times it happens over several days, but they get the job done. My health struggles would be far more difficult without their assistance.
I tear up when I think about the great effort they provide to me and others. Their staff is kind and extremely courteous. They care about their patients and make many sacrifices to achieve their goal of saving lives.
Superman is known for his amazing feats in the sky, but he can’t compare to the remarkable job performed by Wings.
Wings Flights of Hope can be reached at wingsflight.org.
Warren Lowe, from Lackawanna, is a congestive heart failure patient who relies on Wings Flights of Hope.