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Child who beat Leukemia becomes pilot for a day at Altus Air Force Base

Updated: Apr. 9, 2021 at 7:13 PM CDT
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ALTUS, Okla. (TNN) - Friday was a special day at Altus Air Force Base as a brave kid who beat Leukemia got the chance to be a pilot for a day.

From behind the scenes looks at three planes, to learning about Air Force K-9s and spending some time on flight simulators, Friday was all about Noah Branscum at Altus Air Force Base.

“I try not to cry, it’s so exciting to see him enjoy stuff and have fun and not have to worry about things. He’s only 7, he doesn’t need to worry about adult issues, it’s fun to just be able to see him play,” said Noah’s mom Amber Branscum.

Noah got this opportunity through an organization called the Sheridan Sunshine Foundation.

“It was a creation of my daughter, Sheridan Nicole. She was a bone cancer patient back in 2011 at the OU Children’s Hospital. Being a cancer patient herself, she wanted to help other kids with cancer somehow, someway. She passed in 2011,” said Jim Bautista, founder of Sheridan Sunshine Foundation.

But, her legacy lives on through events like Friday’s.

“It’s just to give them that break from their cancer journey, in that world, I can speak to it, it’s very tiring, very demanding, not only to yourself, not only the parents but to the siblings of the kid as well. Just to be out here for a day and just put that world in the backseat if you will for just a day, just seeing all the happy smiles that are happening it’s phenomenal, it’s awesome,” Bautista said.

Noah was all smiles as he became an honorary pilot and boom operator, learning the ropes with those stationed in Altus.

“It’s awesome, it reminds me of the students we teach here but to a greater degree, he’s just a kid and showing him something like this can change his life forever, that’s what’s important. We love to give back to the community, community outreach is a big part of what the Air Force does,” said Staff Sergeant Collin Green.

This wasn’t just a fun day for Noah, but for his mom, dad, brother, sister and grandparents as well.

“It’s hard to put into words, you just enjoy doing things as a family because you don’t know if you’re going to be able to do things like this again. So, you’ve just got to take it for it what it is and enjoy it,” Branscum said.

Noah’s mom says he has completed more than three years of treatment and is doing great.

You can learn more about the organization that helps kids have days like Friday by going to SheridanSunshineFoundation.com.

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