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Teen battling chronic illness surprises pilot with pilot watch on flight to Cincinnati

WLWT-TV 5 / December 16, 2020

A 17-year-old girl who is battling a chronic illness received a gift of a lifetime this week and was also able to use it to surprise her pilot during her travels to Cincinnati for treatment.

Mollie Burke has been traveling back and forth between her home in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Cincinnati for treatment at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

Burke has a passion for aviation and is working to get her private pilot's license. She was also recently accepted into the Aeronautical Sciences program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She has a goal of becoming a commercial pilot one day.

“Throughout my life, I have learned to view things from a bigger perspective, and the very idea of literally seeing the world from a larger perspective is exciting,” Burke said. “I experience a peace in the air that is more soothing than any other place, and I find that reassuring.”

Miracle Flights and Torgoen heard about Burke's inspirational story and gifted her with two pilot watches, one for herself and one to give to a Delta pilot on a future flight.

When Burke landed at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport on Wednesday, she surprised her pilot with the watch. Burke was also able to visit the flight deck and get an up-close look at what being a pilot is all about.