Ivy Cadle, a 2007 graduate, literally took to the skies as an Angel Flight volunteer pilot, flying test specimens to labs outside of Georgia to help speed up results to an increasing number of patients left in limbo.
“I just saw that as a real opportunity to jump in and help,” Cadle said.
Just over 1 million COVID-19 tests had been administered in the state by the beginning of July, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
In some instances, patients waited more than a week for the results.
Quest Diagnostics, one of the nation’s largest lab companies, said as the demand for COVID-19 testing grows, the wait times for results become increasingly longer as the labs try to keep up with the demand, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Angel Flight also pairs volunteer pilots with people who need to quickly travel to receive proper care or have to go great distances for their treatment.
A lawyer by trade, Cadle became interested in planes in childhood after his father earned his pilot’s license, prompting Cadle to follow suit in adulthood.
“I just love to fly,” he said. “I think it is fascinating that people can travel long distances over short periods of time while sitting comfortably and enjoying amazing views.”
But Cadle wanted to do more than take in the beautiful sights from miles above the ground; he wanted to do something to help people during the COVID-19 crisis. As part of his Angel Flight missions, he has flown COVID-19 tests to Florida and North Carolina, helping patients receive results quicker.
“As an attorney, the best thing I could do to help the fight with COVID is to work from home and help my clients solve problems,” he said. But as a pilot, “the fact that I just had to put a 40-pound cooler in the back of the airplane and go, that was such an easy way to help. It was just a no-brainer to be able to do something I already enjoy.
“To actually be able to take action and do something that was helpful on a bigger scale was very appealing.”
Meeting the requirements to be an Angel Flight pilot took a long time. Cadle clocked hundreds of hours of flight time and instrument training to certify that he understands the technical side of planes as well.
“If it’s something you want to do and you like it bad enough and you want to integrate it into your life, then you’ll figure out how to go do it,” he said.
For now, Cadle wants to continue to find the time to volunteer for Angel Flight.
“I’m really just honored to be in a position to have access to the resources that I can actually do something,” he said.
That means keeping up on his pilot requirements to fly and self-funding his volunteer missions.
“I think what’s so neat about it is that every time you go it’s a different experience,” he said. “This is a tangible opportunity to pick something up and literally move it for a more timely response.”