Dawson has been a friend of ours for a long time. We took him on a helicopter and plane ride when he was in Minnesota for treatment when he was 12 years old. Dawson is now 19, graduating from high school and training to become a pilot. We are excited to share an update on his flight school training and life during these unprecedented times.
We first met Dawson 7 years ago at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital, where he was receiving a bone marrow transplant in the fight against a rare blood disease, Fanconi Anemia. We were on one of our beanie donation visits, where we stopped by Dawson’s room to drop off a hat. We connected with him and his parents, Penni and Bob almost immediately. During the visit, we noticed Dawson had several model airplanes in his room and heard he loved aircrafts and wanted to become a pilot. Soon after, we took Dawson on his first Love Your Melon Superhero Adventure and on his very first helicopter ride. Later on, we had the chance to bring him on a WWII era plane ride. Both of these experiences helped spark his love for aircrafts even further and we’re so excited to support him through his endeavors.
Last November, we announced that we would sponsor Dawson's flight school training with Box Aviation in Alabama. Fast forward to today, he's already 31 hours into his training and recently trained for his very first solo cross-country flight with his instructor out of Montgomery, Alabama to Anniston, Alabama! Dawson's favorite part about flight school is the ability to just get in a plane and take off by himself - we couldn't be more proud of his progress so far.
COVID-19 hasn't been easy for Dawson's school life as a high school senior. All of his classes are now online through Zoom and Google classroom, and both his prom and graduation have been postponed until further notice. Along with that, Dawson's highly anticipated State Golf Tournament that was supposed to begin last weekend was also cancelled. He misses being able to go to school, see his friends, and play golf.
However, this change of pace has not stopped Dawson. Although his last year in high school now consists of staying at home and distant learning, and his pre-existing condition means that he’s especially vulnerable to this virus, Dawson never fails to put a smile on and chase his dreams. We're excited as Dawson will be attending Troy University this fall and will be majoring in Business.
We can't wait to see what he does next and hope that once we’re through all of this and a few years down the road, we can get on a flight where Dawson’s the pilot. We know that he can overcome almost anything as he’s done throughout his whole life thus far. With Dawson at the controls, we’re pretty sure we can go anywhere and boy aren’t we ready.