Corporate Angels makes 25,000th cancer flight

 - March 7, 2007, 9:14 AM

Natalie was happy to be returning home after a week of treatment at New York’s Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center. But instead of working her way through security lines, risking delays from airlines and infections from cold and flu viruses in crowded terminals, the six-year-old was returning to Florida on a business jet on a flight arranged by the Corporate Angel Network (CAN), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to arrange flights on business jets for cancer patients.

PepsiCo, a long-time CAN participant, hosted the milestone flight for Natalie and her mother, who accompanied the company’s CEO. “Working with the Corporate Angel Network has given PepsiCo the opportunity to meet and support some very special, courageous people,” said Patrick Cunningham, the company’s director of aviation. “From the moment we completed our first CAN flight 23 years ago, we knew we were a part of something incredibly special. We’d like to see many more companies join CAN and experience what it means to put an [otherwise] unused seat to such an honorable use for people in great need.”

Founded in 1981 and based in White Plains, N.Y., the Corporate Angel Network now includes 541 participating corporations. “This number changes constantly as new corporations join and as we lose corporations through mergers and acquisitions,” a CAN official told AIN. “That number has been steadily, but slowly, increasing. About five years ago we had roughly 460 corporations.”

Meanwhile, for the sixth straight year Flight Options is donating 10 hours of flight time to CAN. According to a CAN official, although Flight Options is the only fractional operator that donates flight time, “fractional owners from both Flight Options and NetJets donate hours.”

CAN typically transports about 200 cancer patients a month.