“Your child has cancer” is one of the most devastating sentences a parent can hear.
Richard Newman, a pilot from Washington state, heard these words when his daughter Carli was diagnosed with lymphoma, but this wasn’t the only thing that inspired him to create the Children’s Air Corps Guild, an organization geared toward raising funds to help children with cancer.
“It was a funeral I took her to,” Newman explained. “The funeral of one of her little friends. Carli spent two years in the hospital, which was horrible and scary, but when I had to take her to the funeral of Kaitlin, one of her friends, who died last October, it really hit me. Her friend died of Neuroblasptoma, which is a cancer prevalent in children. Neuroblasptoma is so devastating because it keeps coming back.”
Newman worked with The Seattle Children’s Hospital, a facility with a national reputation for the treatment of childhood cancers, to create the new organization.
“The hospital has lots of experience working with organizations that raise money for cancer research,” said Newman. “The Children’s Hospital Guild Association was a really big help when it came to creating the organization and helping us with tax-exempt status and guiding us in what we can and can’t do.”
The not-for-profit organization came to fruition in January.
Founding a not-for-profit organization is new territory for Newman, who makes his living as the chief flight instructor at Northway Aviation in Everett. He says there was never any doubt that the organization would have to involve aviation in some way.
“At this point aviation is really the only thing I know,” he said. “I read articles in General Aviation News about airports in danger and it seemed to me that general aviation keeps fighting outside battles with the non-aviation community. I figure I could do something with airplanes to help kids with cancer and their families and get general aviation out there to the non-flying community in a positive way.”
Newman sought the expertise of some former students to help him build the organization, people with experience in marketing, bookkeeping and fundraising. Many of them have had their lives touched by cancer, he noted, and they were happy to help.
The goal of the Children’s Air Corps Guild is to raise $500,000 to benefit research at Children’s Hospital in Seattle and develop treatments for childhood cancers.
“We have lots of ideas on how to raise that money,” said Newman, “including asking every pilot to make a donation equivalent to the price of a gallon of gas. Just imagine if all the licensed pilots did that how much money we could raise.”