Delta proudly continued our tradition of flying employee breast cancer survivors and fighters on the "Breast Cancer One" charter this week in celebration of our people as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The annual charter flight, best known for its trademark pink clad fliers and crew, is now in its 17th year and is one of the highlights of Delta’s longstanding support for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).
Before boarding this year’s flight to our Salt Lake City hub, Delta and our partners hosted a sendoff celebration, complete with a live DJ and gate-side dance floor, for survivors at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The pre-flight festivities culminated with a welcome ceremony, attended by Delta and BCRF leaders, that recognized the contributions of Delta people in the fight against the disease, including $3 million raised this past year for breast cancer research.
“Your hard work and commitment have helped Delta raise millions of dollars for crucial breast cancer research that has touched the lives of countless people,” said Delta CEO, Ed Bastian. “I’m so proud of you and congratulate you. Your strength and resolve truly represents the best of our company.”
Tom Brady, whose mother is in remission from breast cancer, made a surprise appearance at the sendoff event, where he congratulated and thanked the Delta survivors and fighters, while also sharing his personal connection with the disease.
Since 2005, the generosity of Delta employees, customers and their friends and families have raised $24.75 million for BCRF, including $3 million this past year. Their collective contributions have funded the vital work of 99 different research projects in the pursuit of eradicating breast cancer.
“Our partnership with Delta is truly unique. Not only do their employee-led initiatives raise millions of dollars for breast cancer research, but they also emphasize the importance of celebrating their people,” said BCRF President and CEO Donna McKay. “There are not many companies whose community of people supports survivors and their families the way Delta does.”
The flight not only celebrates the more than 150 Delta people on board who are battling or have battled breast cancer, but also affords opportunities to connect with their colleagues about their triumphs and challenges.
“It’s inspiring being here and participating in this celebration of life. I love connecting with new survivors and showing them that you can have a long, wonderful life after diagnosis,” said Delta pilot and breast cancer survivor, Antonia Wysong. “Delta makes us feel we are significant and loved. I don’t know of any other company that supports its employees the way Delta does.”
The survivors and fighters were joined on the flight by representatives from BCRF along with a group of “Unsung Heroes” who were selected in recognition of their steadfast support of Delta employees during their battle against the disease.
Also onboard the flight, flown on a Delta Boeing 767-400ER painted in special BCRF pink ribbon livery, were more than a dozen Delta leaders who assisted flight attendants with in-flight food and beverage service.
Throughout October, Delta employees don pink uniforms, a tradition started by a Delta flight attendant and breast cancer survivor more than 15 years ago, and sell pink products on board and in Delta Sky Clubs to fundraise for the cause.
While fundraising efforts ramp up during October, interested customers and employees can donate to BCRF year-round at delta.com/BCRF and through SkyWish, the charitable arm of Delta's SkyMiles frequent flyer program, which allows Delta and its SkyMiles Members to donate miles to charitable organizations worldwide.
BCRF is a nonprofit organization committed to achieving prevention and a cure for breast cancer. BCRF provides critical funding for cancer research worldwide to fuel advances in tumor biology, genetics, prevention, treatment, metastasis and survivorship. Since its founding in 1993 by Evelyn H. Lauder, BCRF has raised more than a billion dollars for lifesaving research.