‘Corporate angels’ transport 3,000 patients in 2010

January 14, 2011

Companies offered up empty seats in their business aircraft to transport a record 3,021 cancer patients to treatment through the Corporate Angel Network (CAN) in 2010.

Even as business aviation flight hours have been slow to bounce back to pre-recession numbers, companies rallied behind CAN’s cause and added to their business flights a charitable purpose. The network has now flown more than 36,000 patients since its founding in 1981.

“These records demonstrate the interest major corporations have in supporting cancer patients through CAN, even during challenging times when flights were being cut back,” said Executive Director Peter Fleiss. “It’s because of the generosity of our participating corporations that we are able to help so many.”

CAN staff and volunteers work with patients, physicians, corporate flight departments, and treatment centers to “coordinate the medical travel needs of cancer patients with the flight activity of participating corporations”—a network that has grown to 530 companies. The organization, which provides the flights for free to patients, transported its 35,0000th cancer patient in September. CAN said that flight carried 16-month-old William Relyea, who had been receiving treatment for neuroblastoma at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and his mother from Westchester County airport to his home in Syracuse, N.Y.

CAN said the 3,021 cancer patients flown in 2010 represented a 9-percent increase over the previous record of 2,778 and a 21-percent increase over 2009. Participating corporations typically fly between 250 and 300 patients to treatment each month, the organization said in a press release.