BLUE BELL, P.A., (CBS) — Flying is David Gibb’s passion.
“Some people have a cabin up north in the Poconos. Some people are big into golf. Mary and I are big into aviation,” Gibbs explained.
Part of flying for Gibbs means volunteering his time, his plane and his fuel to transport sick patients and their families to treatment centers throughout the northeast.
“In essence what we tell patients, you’ve got enough to worry about with your unfortunate situation, whatever that is. Let me take care of transportation.”
The non-profit based in Blue Bell pairs pilots with patients and their families. Some 300 flights a year are free and they’ve helped people like Brianna Ranzino.
“I had 8-12 months to live,” Ranzino explained.
Ranzino is now a junior at college in Malvern, but just a few years ago she was suffering from a rare tumor in her esophagus.
“I couldn’t breathe and we found a tumor and it just kept coming back,” she said.
What saved her life was experimental surgery in Boston, but the weekly trips were causing a huge amount of stress on her family.
“We would have had to move to Boston. Before we figured out about Angel Flight East, we thought about selling our house in New Jersey and moving up to Boston in an apartment.”
However, Brianna’s social worker told her family about Angel Flight East and a pilot like Gibbs was able to shuttle her back and forth for treatment.
“We became very close with him. We still talk with him every once in a while,” Ranzino said.
The trips helped her beat the tumor and keep her family at home.
“This is my way of giving back to the community. It’s not real flashy but that’s fine with me. I sleep well at night. I know I’ve made a difference in people’s lives,” Gibbs said.