Local nonprofit takes medical transportation to new heights - Oct 20, 2018

by Stephen Jamieson | Oct 18, 2023
By Abbie Bythewood
Updated Oct 20, 2018

Angel Flight Soars is a local nonprofit organization headquartered out of Dekalb-Peachtree Airport that coordinates free air transportation for patients requiring necessary medical treatments. Founded in 1983 by Jim Schaeffer, over the last two decades, the organization has operated under the mother-daughter duo Bernadette and Jeanine Chambers.

AFS helps patients of all ages, specifically cancer, transplant and burn patients seeking treatments or patients with genetic disorders who are in need of transportation to multiple aointments throughout the year.

“It’s typical for insurances to cover for medical treatments, but not the transportation,” said Jeanine Chambers, executive director of Angel Flight Soars.

The organization coordinates nine missions a day, seven days a week, year-round, not only flying within Georgia, but also to Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee. Every flight plan is arranged out of PDK by the mission coordinator Bernadette Chambers.

Last year, the Angel Flight Soars team completed 3,500 missions amongst 300 volunteer pilots, and anticipates to complete 3,600 by the end of December 2018.

The volunteer pilots are recreational flyers who provide their own, usually 4-6 seater, aircraft for transportation. The team operating out of PDK works directly with hospitals to locate patients in need of travel to and from their treatments and follow-up appointments.

“These are our patients for life,” said Chambers.

Pilots can fly on demand for each patient. AFS works directly out of the Air Care Alliance and self-coordinates every mission for approximately 200-300 pilots a year, and is always recruiting new volunteers who have that passion to fly.

AFS helps patients who have a financial need and/or whose immune systems prevent commercial travel. All services provided are free for patients who are medically stable and ambulatory. In the event of severe weather not permitting flight travel, AFS still works to provide alternative transportation for time sensitive appointments by renting cars or purchasing train tickets for patients and their families.

Outside of coordinating flight plans, AFS hosts multiple community events throughout the year that are open to the public.

For more information on Angel Flight Soars, contact (770) 452-7958, find them on Facebook or online at angelflightsoars.org.

Link to Air Care Alliance: http://www.aircarealliance.org/