Our Inspiration

Since he was a child, Reid had a passion for flight, and for every aspect of the aviation field. Despite the many challenges that Reid faced while living with Ewing sarcoma, his determination and passion for life never wavered, and this allowed him to realize his dream of flying. The wings on our logo symbolize Reid's love of aviation.

Reid often felt frustrated, knowing that there was very little being done in the way of research into Ewing sarcoma. He felt strongly about the need to address this life-threatening issue. Reid would talk with the oncologists about starting a foundation whose main goal would be to raise funds specifically for Ewing sarcoma research.

Reid would be proud to know that he was instrumental in launching this important mission, and that finally those suffering from Ewing sarcoma will be given a voice.

- by - Tina Pernica


- by - Reid Pernica

When I was seven years old, my Aunt took me for a ride in a small airplane. I just loved being in the sky and feeling free as we flew over the countryside. The sound of the engine, the excitement of all the instruments, and the pilot talking on his radio created my dream. I had made a promise to myself that I was going to fly an airplane when I grew up. Little did I know what lay ahead for me, or if my dream would ever come true.

At the age of 17, I had just about read and analyzed every book written on aircraft and flight, and I seriously considered joining the Air Force. However, my dream came to a sudden halt when I was diagnosed with a cancer called Ewing sarcoma. This wasn't supposed to happen to me! I was too young. I was always strong and healthy. I had my dream to make a reality.

With the support of my family, I accepted the fact that the only possible way to beat this cancer was aggressive and extensive treatments. I was given chemotherapy and radiation for the next 7 months. My doctors described my treatments as going into battle. Every 3 weeks, I was given strong and poisonous chemicals that would kill the cancer cells. Each treatment would drop my blood counts down, and by the time I started to feel better it would be time to go at it again. It was at this point that I thought I had lost my dream of flying. I was convinced the Air Force would not accept me because I had cancer.

I had spent many weeks in the hospital, and it became my second home. I would walk up and down the hallways to pass the time, and sit and look out the window of the 8th floor, just watching the birds land and take off from the roof. My treatments were working, and I was in remission!

With that, I thought my battle was over, until my doctor explained that I needed to take my treatment one step further. In order to give me a high chance of remaining cancer free, I would need a stem cell transplant. There was a lot involved, and a lot at risk. Finally, after 6 weeks in hospital, I was ready to come home, and spent several months in isolation. When I returned for a check-up, my parents and I discussed with my doctor whether it would still be possible for me to join the Air Force.

My dream of flying had not been lost after all! Although I still needed to avoid being in a crowd, I was able to visit my friends and enjoy some freedom. Off I went to Buttonville Airport and applied for a job as ground crew. I explained my situation to the airport manager, and we talked endlessly about planes. He offered me a job, not only for the summer, but as co-op position for the fall. I was thrilled! I had a job doing what I loved to do! The job offers ground school training, and I could also take flying lessons.

My first flying lesson was fabulous, as it brought back all the feelings I had when I was 7 years old. My instructor was amazed at how comfortable I was as he handed me the controls and told me to "bring her in." My first landing was incredible, and my instructor said he could not have had a better landing himself.

I have many hours of flying, and a lot still to learn, before I can take my pilot's license test. Working at the airport gives me the advantage. Whenever I have a quiet moment, I always stop and think what I was faced with a year ago: being told I had cancer. My dream had almost slipped away from me, but now I'm living it.

I'm flying!
our inspiration

Reid relapsed in October 2007 and lost his brave
battle with Ewing Sarcoma on November 25, 2007.