I first met Jack during some of his darkest days. Jack was CFO for a fortune 50 company and had been recently diagnosed with cancer of the spine. My job as a flight nurse was to transport him safely to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for surgery and further treatment. To say the family was devastated by this recent diagnosis was an understatement. His life had been turned upside down. Jack presented to me in significant pain, his wife, was accompanying him on the emergency flight and was worried about the pain Jack was experiencing.

During the flight, I was successfully able to medicate Jack to relieve his pain symptoms. We were able to talk during the flight and I discovered a man who was trying to be very strong during this trying time. I was able to hold his hand, listen to him and occasionally make him laugh. For a little while at least, he was able enjoy a good conversation and forget about his looming surgery.

As I dropped him off at the hospital, I will never forget the feeling that somehow, our paths would cross again. Six months went by and I often wondered how Jack was doing and what his outcome had been. Soon after, I received a call to go on a flight to Boston-this time to bring Jack home! I met Jack once again. We greeted each other like old friends. The last six months had taken a toll on him. He had been through multiple surgeries and had nearly lost his life. He had lost a lot of weight and was in very fragile condition. He had come to the airport on his own. Due to his spinal surgery, we quickly realized it was going to be very difficult, if not impossible to get Jack up the stairs into the jet. He was not able to walk up the stairs on his own. We finally figured a way for him to lie onto the stretcher to get him inside the aircraft. The problem was actually lifting him into the aircraft with just four people. As I discussed the problem with our pilot, I noticed how worried Jack had become. When I asked him what was wrong, he told me he was afraid we would drop him while attempting to lift the stretcher. I held Jack’s face in my hands and told him that we would not drop him. I then turned around and told our crew to wait while I called the Logan Airport fire department. Within minutes, six strong, burly men came to the scene and gently lifted Jack into the aircraft. A wave of relief rushed over Jack and his wife as we safely accomplished our task. A friendship started through hardship.

Jack and I remained friends. Several years later, when I started my own air ambulance company, AirCARE1, Jack had never forgotten called to offer his services as our company CFO.