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Maddy Hunt soars as pilot for a day

[Source KSWO] [Source KSWO]

ALTUS, OK (KSWO)- She battled and beat leukemia and on Friday 12-year-old Maddy Hunt got to have some fun as Pilot for the Day at Altus Air Force Base.

Maddy was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at 4 years old.

She finished treatment in 2015 and is now in remission.

Maddy was selected for the event through Sheridan's Sunshine Foundation for Childhood Cancer program.

It's designed to benefit children who have fatal illnesses and their families.

Hunt spent the day with pilots and crew members of the 58thAirlift Squadron training on flight tasks including a pilot simulator, K-9 demonstration and more.

Maddy said her goal of the day was to learn what it truly takes to fly for the United States Air Force.

"You can do it,” said Maddy. “I mean nothing's holding you back. I mean just go ahead and do it like Nike says."

With the same never-give-up attitude that helped her beat cancer, Maddy set her sights on the skies with a smile on her face and an airplane yoke in her hands.
"It was kind of crazy just with all the switches but I just had to hold the handles and it was pretty easy,” said Maddy.

But before she got behind the wheel, she had to be officially sworn in just like any other pilot.

From there, it was on to air refueling in a C-17 training simulator and she even got to put on a parachute.

Sheridan's Sunshine Foundation President Jim Bautista selected Maddy for the program.

He said he couldn't think of anyone better to take part in the event.

"She's just so vibrant,” said Bautista. “So, full of life. She is a true survivor."

Maddy said her family's support helped her get through the hard times, and she's glad she got to spend the day with them.

"It's pretty cool. I mean my sister is like my co-pilot,” said Maddy.

That was her father's hope, at the end of the day, to see Maddy flying into her new life.

"I know there are some children that unfortunately didn't make it through their battle with cancer leukemia,” said Jay Hunt. “So, I'm very grateful every day to see her go through her journeys and experiences like this. I thank God every day for her recovery."

To follow more of Maddy’s journey you can follow her on Facebook.


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