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Delta’s annual “Breast Cancer One” employee survivor flight took to the sky last week, kicking off the airline’s month-long campaign to generate awareness and raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

This year marked Delta’s 12th annual survivor flight, which carried more than 140 employee breast cancer survivors on board the airline’s iconic pink plane on the flight’s first transcontinental route from New York City to Los Angeles.

“We’re all coming from the same place. We’re all a member of this club that none of us signed up to be – and we’re showing others that the path is hard, but you too can do it,” said Toni W., Assistant Chief Pilot, in the clip.

The employee survivors, along with Delta leaders and BCRF executives, were celebrated and honored during a kickoff celebration at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and a special evening event in Los Angeles.

Special guests at survivor dinner
The dinner event celebrated the survivors and included a discussion on cancer research milestones and special guests Wanda Sykes and co-founders of BCRF’s Women’s Cancer Research Fund Rita Wilson, Jamie Tisch, Kelly Meyer Quinn Ezralow and Marion Laurie.

“I know when I was going through it, it was very scary and anything I could think of that would cheer me up or make me laugh just made things easier and better to get through,” said Sykes who performed for the survivors at the dinner.

The dinner also included a meet-and-greet with Dr. Sofia Merajver, one of BCRF’s world-renowned researchers.

Employee survivors celebrating on \
“Last year I was a crew member, and I remember looking out at these women and thinking ‘gosh this is amazing’,” said Julie A., In-Flight Service-ATL. “And then four months later I went for my yearly mammogram and I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. I really just found a lot of strength from the women because it was a very difficult time, but I knew that if they could make it, I could make it, too.”

Since 2005, Delta employees, customers and their friends and families have raised $11 million for BCRF since 2005, including last year’s efforts of $1.75 million. The collective contributions have funded the vital work of 44 different research projects over the years in the pursuit of eradicating breast cancer.

Delta employee and customer-donated monies are fully funding seven BCRF research grants in the 2016-2017 year. These projects span London, Australia, New Zealand, Paris, New York, Seattle, Michigan, California and Indiana.

To further raise awareness and support for breast cancer research, Delta employees will wear pink uniforms and sell pink products, including pink lemonade and pink headsets, on board and in Delta Sky Clubs throughout the month of October. Sales of the airline's pink products will benefit BCRF.