Fighter pilot for a day: When IAF helped cancer-ridden Chandan live his dream
Six years ago, in a heartwarming story, the Indian Air Force helped bring a smile to the face of a dying little boy, whose dream was to become a fighter pilot someday.
Six years ago, in a heartwarming story, the Indian Air Force helped bring a smile to the face of a dying little boy, whose dream was to become a fighter pilot someday. The 13-year-old Chandan suffering from bone cancer got to fly a jaguar simulator, and also got to sit in the cockpit of a fighter aircraft, dressed in flying overalls, just a couple of months before he lost his battle with cancer On February 5, 2015. He was just 14 at the time.
Sharing his story on his sixth death anniversary, Rahul Verma, Founder of Uday Foundation who helped Chandan and his family with the former treatment, shared the boy's story on Twitter. Verma found Chandan on the pavement outside Delhi's AIIMS, when the volunteers of Uday Foundation were distributing blankets to the homeless in the chilly January of 2013.
"We saw Chandan, who was then 12 years old, on the pavement, covered with few blankets, moaning in pain. He was with his parents who told us that he was suffering from bone cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy at AIIMS. When they ran out of cash, the family, which had travelled to Delhi from Bihar, moved to the pavement," Verma shared.
The Foundation collected over Rs 12 lakh, for his treatment and stay, through a fundraiser. For the next two years, Verma adds, the boy went through 22 sessions of chemotherapy.
Remembering Master Chandan on his 6th death anniversary.— Rahul Verma (@rahulverma08) February 5, 2021
So many of you helped him.
While learning at the study centre set up by the Foundation, Chandan’s heart was set on becoming an airforce pilot some day. Just a few months before he passed away, when it was clear that he didn't have much longer to live, the only thing that Chandan asked for was an experience of flying a fighter plane.
"Just to travel on a regular flight, he needed a fitness certificate from his doctors in advance; & here he was, talking about flying a fighter aircraft! A few days later, I received a phone call from Group Captain Yash Negi of the @IAF_MCC (Indian Air Force - Media Coordination Centre). We had met while organizing relief work for the Kashmir floods. I conveyed Chandan's request. And within two days, I was informed that Chandan could visit the Ambala Air Force Station," Verma wrote.
On November 10, 2014, hardly four months before he passed away, Chandan lived his dream. He was given training on a special flight simulator, and lived the life of a fighter pilot for an entire day. "In his words, ‘It was the most cherished moment of my life’. The sortie on the simulator lasted for around 20 minutes. The most exciting maneuver, he said, was the loop," Verma shared.
"The boy 'earned' his wings on Thursday at Air Force Station Ambala after having gone through 'special training' at the flight simulator followed by a 'Familiarisation with the aircraft cockpit'," the IAF spokesperson had said at the time, as quoted by India Today.