Today’s Wednesday story is a little different. I learned about this amazing organization by reading about it in the Outside Magazine in this article (there is a little language in here, so read at your own risk). The article is about a man named, Matt, who became a quadriplegic and his friend Joe, who for a time, was his caregiver.
Matt really wanted to fly in the paragliding sled by himself. So after a few days practicing and learning, he was able to. Here’s a quote from the end of that article”
“Finally, at 8:58 a.m., with eight steps and a solid push from Santa, Matt is airborne. Santa gives five simple commands over the radio, and Matt glides and lands as well as any beginner on the mountain. He tells us he didn’t really think about the chair or his body for the two minutes he was in the air. “I didn’t have to ask anyone for anything,” he says. “No ‘move me here, hand me that.’ None of that. It was just me.”
He solos two more times that day. The last flight is at dusk. There’s barely any wind, and the sky is empty. Santa watches Matt initiate a turn before he suggests it, so he backs off from giving orders over the radio. For the first time in a week, I relax.
As the sun drops below the Oquirrh Mountains, Santa drives his truck down to pick up Matt at the landing zone. Santa gets out and, with the help of two other paragliders, wheels the flight chair facefirst into the truck bed. Matt watches the alpenglow illuminate Lone Peak’s face while he shares the high with the other two paragliders in the bed. The bumpy ride back to his van feels familiar to Matt, almost exactly like kayaking shuttles used to feel.
“When was the last time you rode in the bed of a truck?” Santa asks as we back the chair out of the tailgate at the end of the drive.
“It’s been a while,” says Matt.”
When my husband and I bought our first little home in Provo, UT many years ago, there was a man up the street who was also a quadriplegic. He always had 2-3 young college students living with him. They helped him with everything, including getting into his special van so he could drive to work-he was a lawyer, going to church, getting dressed, etc. I was always so amazed at his drive to still do whatever he could.
Project Airtime is an amazing organization, and it literally takes place a hop, skip and a jump from my home now. They help everyone paraglide, even quadriplegics, over at the “point of the mountain” in Draper Utah.
Check out this video of one of their flights.
“Project Airtime is a Nevada 501(c)(3) non-profit based in Draper, Utah. We take EVERYONE flying. When we say EVERYONE, we mean it. No exclusions. From special needs individuals to those with brain and spinal cord injuries. Individuals with illness, as well as the elderly and veterans. Our co-pilots have one thing in common, they want to fly!”
The man in charge of this organization is Christ Santacroce. You can see a video about him here. And in the Outside magazine article I linked to above, the author said this about Chris… “Santacroce used to be one of the best paragliders in the world, flying for 13 years with the Red Bull Air Force, a group of elite glider pilots, BASE jumpers, and wingsuiters who perform stunts at events around the world. Then, in June of 2008, during a flight, he caught the tip of his glider while landing and slammed into the ground. He injured his L2 vertebra, which confined him to a wheelchair for a while. After making a full recovery, he started Project Airtime.”
I really wanted to share about this organization. It makes my heart happy to know that there are so many good people in this world who are busy helping people who truly need help to have an amazing life experience.
I don’t know the details of how to get a flight besides if you click on the project airtime link above, there is an online form to submit for info on getting a flight with their organization.
Here is their other contact info:
I hope you all have a wonderful day. Look for the good all around you. There is so much good!
Life is Good. Share the Good.
PS Note all pictures here belong to Project Airtime