Knowing your time on earth is limited means making the most of every waking moment.
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Erica and Michael Mace have been trying to do just that for their 5-year-old son, Hyrum, who was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG, last April. In just a few short months, he’s gone from a bright, energetic child to a cancer patient with a bleak prognosis.
The tumor on Hyrum’s brainstem is inoperable, but he is undergoing radiation treatment and is a part of a clinical trial. His doctors hope these treatments will give him more time with his family, even if it’s only a few months.
In order to receive his treatments, his parents have been flying him from their home in Utah to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford in Palo Alto, California. They’ve been using budget airline Breeze Airways to fly back and forth, and they’ve become well known frequent flyers among Breeze staff members.
Recently, Michael tweeted a photo of himself and Hyrum on one of their flights. He thanked the airline for being affordable enough to make their bi-weekly journeys possible.
Thanks @BreezeAirways for making cancer treatments a possibility. Flying every two weeks to SFO wouldn’t be possible without your help. Even with #DIPG (terminal brain tumor), my boy is always happy with his window seat. Here’s hoping that we keep flying. #StrongestMan #SMM pic.twitter.com/u1SFwHwmjc– Michael Mace (@wearethemaces) August 25, 2022
As soon as the Breeze Airways executives saw Michael’s tweet, they knew they had to do something to celebrate their brave little passenger and his family.
“We started brainstorming on something special to do for Hyrum and came up with the pep rally and honorary pilot recognition,” a Breeze Airways representative told GMA. “We reached out to the family to see when they would be flying with us again and we coordinated with Michael, Hyrum’s dad, to take care of all their travel for the month of November.”
In addition to paying for their flights for an entire month, Breeze Airways asked local partners Brigham Young University, Provo City, Utah Valley, and San Diablo Artisan Churros to help them make a memorable party for the family right there in the Provo City Airport.
On board the flight, Hyrum received a pair of pilot’s wings from the head captain, which made his day! Then, he got to sit in the cockpit and meet all of the plane’s crew.
“The head captain literally took off his badge and gave it to Hyrum and he loves that thing,” Michael recalled. “There were a couple days where he just wouldn’t take it off.”
When they got off the plane, there was a pep rally featuring his favorite team mascot, BYU’s Cosmo the Cougar, along with the BYU cheerleaders.
Breeze Airways also supported a GoFundMe for Hyrum. They’re hoping to raise funds not just for more flights but for any other treatments or costs his cancer might require. So far, they’ve raised more than $44,000!
Next week, Hyrum will turn 6, and his family will continue the pep rally fun to make fun memories with him. He and his cousins are planning an epic Nerf battle, and the whole family hopes to make every moment they have with Hyrum count.
“I think this experience has reminded me how much of life is not really important and that just everything contained in today is, just the moments that we have and the little experiences that we have together, whether they’re good or bad,” Erica said.
The Mace family is grateful to Breeze Airlines for going above and beyond to make their son feel special! Thanks to these kind strangers, Hyrum and his parents can focus on what matters: love.
Watch the video below to see more of Hyrum’s celebration, and be sure to share.
Tuesday was “Hyrum Mace Day”at Breeze. He got his wings and was pilot for a day. @BreezeAirways welcomed home Hyrum with a pep rally with his friends, family, local community partners, and his favorite – BYU’s famed Cosmo Cougar. pic.twitter.com/RSTTf3sLNc– Provo City (@provocity) November 17, 2022
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