The Gift of Flying High

The Gift of Flying High

The best way to create a better future is to start in your own community. This inspirational story will brighten your day and touch your heart. It speaks to the impact just one person can make. Choose to make a difference!

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paige-story-screenshot2-720x720pxAfter a career in sales, Paige Mackey decided to be a stay-at-home mom when her kids were born. Today, her oldest is six. And, she has 3-year-old twins who were born the day the U.S. shut down for Covid.

During this enforced “quiet” time in her life, Paige reflected on what she wanted for herself and her family when they “re-entered” from the months of isolation. She wasn’t quite ready for a full-time job, but she did want to do something meaningful.

Here's Paige's Story

I’d always felt a calling to volunteer for hospice. When I applied for training, the lady looked at me like, “Are you sure this is the right time for you?” and “Don’t you have your hands full already?”

I followed my heart and trusted the gentle guidance within my soul. My time with the patients has been such a privilege. One of the greatest gifts is to be with them during transition.

When I first began as a “companion,” the volunteer coordinator paired me with Kelli, a 60-year-old woman with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). She’d been wheelchair-bound for five years and was losing the ability to speak.

I started visiting her weekly to help with home tasks. We instantly hit it off with an immediate level of comfort and trust. She radiated this loving warmth and peace.

Before long, Kelli shared her story of being diagnosed with ALS with me. As she was leaving work that day, she saw a hot air balloon in the sky. She paused, staring up in awe. She also felt sad that her dream of riding in one might never come true.

Kelli said she felt as if God had whispered to her, “Sweetie, the views in a hot air balloon are magnificent. And, you’ll be even more amazed at the views in eternity.”

Then she showed me a hot air balloon painting she loved to look at and said, “It’s too bad I can’t go up in one. But I can just imagine the views in Heaven will be spectacular.”

I responded with, “Who’s to say you still can’t? Let’s see what’s possible!”

That day, after leaving her home, I set out on a mission to find a hot air balloon that was handicap accessible.

I discovered that Martin, the local pilot, had the only handicap-accessible basket in the entire state of Oklahoma. He offered to take Kelli on her flight for free. Ultimately, we made it happen.

Kelli's fantasy of riding in a hot air balloon finally became a reality after six months and multiple failed attempts due to weather. Kelli and I met wonderful people from the balloon company. Then, we watched as they prepared the ride and filled the balloon with hot air.

Finally, Kelli and I entered the basket, rose into the skies, and experienced a beautiful, peaceful sunset balloon ride. We were smiling the entire time.

Here’s a video from our magical experience! We really believed it was possible, and our dream became a reality … Enjoy!

Watch the Video!

As Kelli says, “I’m living with ALS, not dying with ALS.”

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Many thanks to Paige for sharing her story. And a final thought for you: What can you make possible—and for whom?

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