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"ESP" - Extra Special Passengers

Throughout our travels, we meet many, many wonderful and interesting people who truly make what we do most rewarding. We lovingly dedicate this page to our "Extra Special Passengers." You touched our hearts and we are so fortunate to have met you.

Dear Connie and Steve,

Hello, this is Billie Jean, I flew with you at the Harvest Balloon Festival. I suppose on those days we shared with you, my daughter Kayla and I seemed to be a little louder, a little more scared and way more excited then many others. There is reason behind this and at this time I wish to tell you why. On that day, I don’t think you know exactly how special of a day you made for Kayla.

Extra Special Passengers 

A little over a year ago Kayla was diagnosed with a life threatening disease of the heart. A rare disease it is. To the point that there is not a doctor who can be a specialist. As there are so very few cases that survive past prenatal stage, Kayla is special. As you can see she shows no signs or symptoms of living with such a illness, as Uhl's disease. Doctors informed us that she had to stop doing so many things. Running, riding bikes fast or swimming for long lengths of time. For me, I personally try to fulfill any requests that she may develop to live life to the fullest.

I had to go through all of Kayla's doctors to get the permission for her to go. Once cleared we sat her down to tell her. She was so excited. I wrapped a disposable camera and a balloon festival news paper and gave this to her. This was my way of telling her the great news. That she could fly. She has been in a short helicopter ride but that is as far as flying has taken her.

On that day, that wonderful Sunday that we flew with you, you fulfilled her dream. In flight she said I cried I don’t think she knew how happy I was to see her up there experiencing such a wonderful moment in her life.

Later that day as we watched our videos, there was a moment after flight, in the field Kayla had the camera to herself. She was filming. As she filmed she talked and I want you to know that her words were filled with things like this was the greatest day of her life.

Under the circumstances I’ve always called Kayla my Lil angel. On that day you gave my angel wings. I want to thank you for that.

With all the love and thanks.

The Kelly Family, Billie Jean, Kayla, Ryan, and Carol (Mimi- the one who gave up her ticket so that Kayla could go).

We met a most wonderful man, Michael Burton, his wife and sister, in Lexington, Virginia in July, 2003, and took them for their first flight. We launched from the Virginia Military Institute. Michael unfortunately had lost his sight, but his sense and interpretation of his flight was so insightful and truly amazing! We were so pleased we were able to give him the gift of flight and we took much away with us from this experience!

Extra Special Passengers 


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