Pilot For A Day - 911th Air Lift Wing Hosts Norah Carter From AGH
12 year-old Norah Carter, honorary second lieutenant of the 911th Airlift Wing, sits in the cockpit of a C-130 Hercules aircraft at the Pittsburgh International Air Reserve Station, May 11, 2016. Norah was nominated for the Pilot for a Day program by her doctors with the Allegheny Health Network, where she is being treated for an undiagnosed genetic disorder. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Bethany Feenstra).
Here is Norah's story in her own words.....
PITTSBURGH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AIR RESERVE STATION, Pa. -- On Wednesday May 11, I got to experience one of the best days of my life and I want to tell you my story – how I got here, why I am so fortunate and why you should keep a positive outlook on life. Hello, my name is Norah Carter, I am 12 years-old and I have had six major orthopedic surgeries with the world’s best doctors.
I have had some of the greatest experiences, such as today, where I became a Pilot for a Day. I have some advice for others who have faced adversity in life and how to be better for it. I have some bone problems such as scoliosis, hip dysplasia, one of my legs is longer than the other and I have flanged vertebrae.
Dr. Mark Sangimino, Allegheny General Hospital, has given me a few spinal fusions that have fixed the way I stand and given me a new hip socket – but really, he gave me a new outlook on life.
I could have given up hope early with all of my surgeries, but the staff at AGH was really positive and it has rubbed off on me.
Because of this positive outlook, I have been able to capitalize on some of the programs that help children like me. For starters, I got to go on a Make-A-Wish trip to Hawaii where I learned how to Hula dance and swim with sea turtles. I also was able to do ride with the Riding for the Handicapped Western Pennsylvania, which sparked my interest in horse riding.
Today, I was chosen to be a Pilot for a Day and go to visit the 911th Airlift Wing, where I am currently writing this article. Everyone here was super nice to me and I learned a lot of new things. I also had some cool experiences, where I got to ride in C-130 Hercules aircraft, swear in as a second lieutenant, and go visit a welder’s shop- where I got to weld and cut metal.
So after all I have done and been through, I have a few words of advice for those who might have a similar situation. Even if you can barely walk, or have some problems in life – you have to do everything you do to the best of your ability because that’s the only way you will ever make a difference. Next, if people make fun of you for your disability – they are not worth it. And last, but not least, if you’re in the hospital, ask for the ice cream – its good.
Turning a challenge into an opportunity comes with the help of great people, a positive outlook on life and of course, taking the time to enjoy the good things. I just got to experience one of the best days of my life, and my question is – why haven’t you lately?