For most of Wayne Maynard’s life, cancer was a foreign language.
But when his brother-in-law was diagnosed and eventually succumbed to the disease eight years ago, everything changed.
Soon after, one of Wayne’s closest friends lost his battle, too.
“For so long I didn’t know anything about it and now it seems like it’s been around me time after time after time,” Maynard said.
Since then, Wayne has taken it upon himself to get cancer patients the treatment they need.
To make that happen, he came up with an extreme idea.
“To fly to the North Pole and back,” he said.
Wayne’s North Pole journey began a few weeks ago. He got the idea after learning about Angel Flight South Central, an organization that provides medical air travel, for free, to cancer patients who can’t otherwise afford it.
Wayne, a licensed pilot himself, started flying for Angel Flight after his brother-in-law was diagnosed.
“As soon as we’re able to get people the treatment that are diagnosed the more likely they’ll survive the disease,” Maynard said.
Angel Flight relies on donations and Wayne knew the only way to get people to donate was to get them to listen.
“By flying to the North Pole, people are more likely to listen to my story than they would be if I started off with telling them about Angel Flight South Central,” he said.
A few weeks ago, Wayne departed Dallas, made a few stops along the way and eventually reached the North Pole.
By the time he returned home, Wayne had collected Angel Flight’s single biggest donation, more than $85 thousand, which will help, at least, 850 patients.
“Maybe they’ll see a son graduate high school that they wouldn’t have seen otherwise,” he said. “Maybe they’ll see a grandchild born that they wouldn’t have seen otherwise. And maybe it’ll give them enough time to say goodbye, at the worst, to people around them.”
We can’t all travel to the North Pole, but like Wayne, to stop cancer from claiming another victim, we’d all go to the ends of the earth.