In mid-September every year, the Kokomo Glendale area in Indiana becomes host to a fundraiser that Laura and Steve Stants organize. They offer rides to locals in order to raise money to support families dealing with the disease known as SMA or Spinal Muscular Atrophy. This helps families from all over the world. These flights will take off from Glendale Airport, and will be offered in a variety of planes, from ultramodern quiet aircraft to noisy yet historic World War II fighters.
Rides are offered for people of varying levels of interest, from casual flyers to those who are considering the prospect of learning how to fly themselves. There are flights in larger aircraft that accommodate up to four people in the cockpit, allowing for small groups or families to go for a plane ride together. This type of flight is characterized as being especially slow and fun, allowing you to take in the sights of Kokomo from above. There are also helicopter rides being given, so you can potentially hover over the city and fly in style.
For those who are interested in learning what it’s like to fly a plane, they offer the opportunity to take the controls of a myriad of historical planes. This is a two-day event with all of the proceeds going toward helping to benefit the children and families who are suffering from SMA. The Stant family fights for this cause for a reason–two of their sons have passed away from SMA. At the time of their deaths, not much was known about the terminal disease or how to mitigate its effects. While some research and effort were put into finding a cure, the actual treatments for it were not covered by insurance. This is because the disease is terminal and treatments were considered to be experimental.
The Stant family knows the high cost of treatment, and they’re fully aware that many families go bankrupt trying to pay for treatments. The Stants have since used their nonprofit to help out families who are suffering the effects of this illness. They’ve actually shipped out equipment and supplies to well over a dozen countries, as well as places that are all over the United States.
Along with actual care, these funds also cover wheelchair accessibility, nursing care, and cemetery plots. Last year the Stants were able to raise $12,000. They’ve been doing this event for eighteen years and estimate that they have raised around $70,000. Considering that both of the Stants are flight instructors, they see this as a way to help out families in need while also engaging in something that they love. In this two-day event alone, the Stants have been able to raise a substantial amount of money, all of it going toward a very good cause. This annual event will continue to help out families in the future.</p