Pediatric Rehabilitation Patients from Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach Pilot their Way Across Long BeachJuly 12, 2010
MCHLB patient, Zach
LONG BEACH, Calif. – July 12, 2010 – Pediatric rehabilitation patients from Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach experienced the joy of being a pilot as they attended “flight school” and took a private voyage over Long Beach on Wednesday with the help of the California Flight Center.
Patients with special needs, including spina bifida, brain injuries, neuromuscular disorders and other conditions were assigned to a certified flight instructor, who took them in a four-seat Cessina with a parent, caretaker, or therapist on a short flight from the Long Beach Airport to Palos Verdes, the Queen Mary and back to the airport. During the flight, the instructor taught the patient how to keep the plane steady and how to make turns.
The event has been made possible for the past eight years by Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach’s Pediatric Rehabilitation Center and the Spirit of Suzi Foundation. The Spirit of Suzi Foundation is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to bring the excitement of flight in a small aircraft to children with traumatic brain injury and other disabilities. The Foundation is named in honor of Suzi Hesseltine, a promising young pilot who tragically lost her life in a non-flying related accident at the age of 18.
“It is so great seeing the patients outside of their normal rehabilitation setting,” says Mariana Sena, recreational therapist. “The pure look of joy on their faces when they step off the plane makes me happy. We are thankful to the pilots and the California Flight Center for giving their time to provide our patients with such a wonderful activity.”
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