Brought to you by WBIW News and Network Indiana
Last updated on Friday, February 22, 2013
(BRAZIL) - It isn’t often that a civilian has the opportunity to ride in an Air Evac Lifeteam helicopter just for the fun of it.
According to an article sent to WBIW from Shelly Schneider, Dumon McCain had so much fun that he did not want the ride to end.
Dumon is a 13 year-old from Beford, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor - glioblastoma multiforme - in November 2012.
This is Dumon's second battle with a brain tumor in his young life. He was diagnosed in November 2005, but had been cancer-free since August 2006. This time the tumor, which is located on his brain stem, is inoperable. Dumon's mother, Amy McNeely, said her son is being treated in Bloomington, Ind.
"He completed 33 radiation treatments, and is currently going through chemotherapy," McNeely said. "We're hoping for the best with the new proton radiation treatments."
Stephanie Fitzgerald, a friend of the family, works as a police dispatcher in Bedford. She has worked with Dumon to find out what he enjoys, and Fitzgerald discovered he loves helicopters.
"I've flown in an airplane before, but not a helicopter," Dumon said.
Enter Air Evac Lifeteam. Brazil, Ind., flight paramedic Stacy Fiscus heard about Dumon, and arranged a flight with the Paoli crew. Air Evac Lifeteam operates more than 110 bases in 15 states. The company provides rapid emergency medical transportation to those who need it most - typically people who live at least 70 miles away from the nearest trauma center.
On February 1, McNeely took her son to the airport, where they met pilot Fay Bard, flight paramedic Daniel Carter, and flight nurse Molly Schaeffer. Bard has been a pilot with Air Evac Lifeteam for five years.
"We don't get to fly people who have a big smile on their face when we land," Bard told Dumon's family. "We love doing these kinds of flights. They are rare, but they are fun."
It was a cold winter day, and after introductions, the Air Evac Lifeteam crew told Dumon about the pre-flight checks and instructions. Then Bard told Dumon that if he was going to be a part of the crew, he needed to look like the crew.
"We presented him with his own flight jacket," Bard said. "It has his name and 'Honorary Flight Crew' on the jacket."
Dumon was strapped in and rode in flight nurse Molly Schaeffer's seat. Flight paramedic Daniel Carter sat next to the 13 year-old.
"Usually our patients are strapped to a gurney," Carter said. "It was neat to fly with someone who really enjoyed himself and could sit up. You should have seen his eyes light up when we handed him that jacket."
Seeing his smile was the best part of the flight, according to Carter.
"We gave him a headset so that Fay and I could communicate with him, and we flew him to his neighborhood," Carter said. "He spotted his house, his friend's house and his school."
Dumon said his house was awfully small from up in the air.
"I couldn't hear my dogs, either," he said. "They're usually barking."
Carter said Dumon was amazed with everything, and he had courage and strength and a great attitude.
"It was an honor and a pleasure to be with him," he said.
Pictured from left to right are: flight nurse Molly Schaeffer, flight paramedic Daniel Carter, honorary flight crew member Dumon McCain, and pilot Fay Bard
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