NBAA Convention News

A Banner Year for Corporate Angel Network

 - October 10, 2011, 12:10 AM

The Corporate Angel Network (CAN) will once again be the beneficiary of NBAA’s charity benefit dinner/dance, set for tomorrow in the Grand Ballroom of the Bellagio Hotel from 6 to 11 p.m. The organization arranges free flights to treatment for cancer patients in available seats on corporate aircraft. The event will feature dinner, live and silent auctions and a concert by the Beach Boys. Tickets (obtainable through NBAA ’11 registration) cost $100 for entertainment only and $295 for the reception, dinner, entertainment and auctions. Tables are also available.

“The support of business aviation is key in our ability to help so many patients receive the best possible treatment for their specific type of cancer,” said CAN executive director Peter Fleiss, who noted that the NBAA benefit raised $220,000 last year. “NBAA has been a strong and long-time supporter of our efforts and the NBAA/CAN Charity Benefit is the newest example. Not only are the funds raised extremely helpful but the resulting flight-department exposure generates new corporate participants, added lift capacity and more patients flown.”

CAN, which marked its 30th anniversary this month, flew 3,021 patients in 2010, an all-time record and a 21-percent increase over the previous year’s total. In September 2010, CAN transported its 35,000th patient, 16-month-old William Relyea, who traveled on a NetJets flight from Westchester County (N.Y) Airport to his home in Syracuse, N.Y. with his mother and grandmother. He had been receiving treatment for neuroblastoma at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

CAN–which counts 530 participating corporations, six paid staff members and 50 part-time volunteers–continued to receive substantial corporate funding in 2011. In January, Safe Flight (which transported CAN’s first patient in 1981) donated $50,000. In March, Gulfstream Aerospace–which has provided CAN with seats on its corporate flights for more than 25 years–also contributed $50,000. And in April, the Greater Washington Aviation Open raised $82,000 for the charity. To date, this annual Washington, D.C. golf event has netted more than $1.6 million for CAN.  

 The charity is also signing up more corporate participants as a result of the July 2010 hiring of Susan Cotton as manager of patient transport development. In this newly created position, Cotton works to increase the number of corporations donating business jet seats to cancer patients and visits cancer centers nationwide to familiarize them with CAN’s services. Fleiss credits her with helping the charity to add more than 50 corporate participants.

Cotton, who has travel-industry marketing and sales experience, was a CAN volunteer before joining the organization full time. She also is a former flight attendant for American Express and contract employee for New York-area flight departments.