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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Flight 1225 Takes Kids to the North Pole


Tourists that arrive at the Orlando International Airport are usually filled with excitement knowing they will soon be travelling to one of the Orlando theme parks. Orlando is one of the travel capitols of the world thanks to our Orlando attractions like the Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Studios, SeaWorld and more. But travelling usually involves being in good health, and when you’re too sick to travel, your life becomes limited in many different ways. That’s where SeaWorld and Continental Airlines step in. The companies worked together along with the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disease at the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute to transform one of the Orlando Airport’s hangars into the North Pole for children struck with pediatric cancer.

"We want to make this a special time for our brave, little patients," Kim Lower, program director of the Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Disease at the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute, which hosted the event with the airlines, told the Orlando Sentinel. "For a day, they don't have to think about things like chemo or shots or going to see the doctor."

70 kids and their families hopped on to a 737 airplane and traveled 15 minutes down the runway on an imaginary flight toward the North Pole. The captains and flight crew all gave themselves holiday-themed nicknames like Captain Jack Frost and Koko “Mistletoe” Guevarra as volunteers dressed up like elves. There were slides, music, cotton candy and even a chance to meet Santa Claus for pictures. SeaWorld workers came in with two adorable penguins, Penny and Pete, to let the kids see the arctic animals and let them interact with them first hand. It was an emotional experience for the children’s parents and the crew that saw the children during their North Pole adventure. Crew members and parents that were interviewed by the Orlando Sentinel, sometimes with tears in their eyes, made it a point to say that health shouldn’t be taken for granted. It’s an important thought to remember during this holiday season and a lesson they all learned thanks to “Flight 1225.” If you would like to see arctic animals, stop by SeaWorld all year round for their amazing Wild Arctic exhibit!

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