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      Angel Flight Soars providing free flight to local woman battling eye cancer

      The non-profit organization Angel Flight Soars will be helping a local Birmingham woman battling cancer travel to see a specialized oncologist in Georgia on Thursday.

      Jean Johnson, 61, is currently a patient at Birmingham Hematology and Oncology Associates after being diagnosed with ocular melanoma, a rare cancer that affects many parts of the eye.

      Her doctors have referred her to the Emory Eye Center at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.{} The eye center was ranked among the top ophthalmology centers in the country in the 2012 U.S. News & World Report's guide to America's top medical institutions. They also had eight physicians ranked in the "Top Doctors" category in the report.

      On disability and without means to travel, Johnson's prayers were answered when volunteer pilot Mark Olson offered to fly her to Atlanta free of charge.{}

      They will depart Birmingham International Airport at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday and will be flying in a Cirrus SR-22 plane.{}

      You can track the flight tomorrow on FlightAware by clicking here.

      Angel Flight Soars (AFS) was formed in 1983 as a loosely organized group of 15 volunteer pilots that just wanted to help people who needed medical treatment.{} They coordinated about a dozen missions that year.{} Today, they serve patients in six states and last year alone coordinated 2,448 missions - the equivalent of seven missions a day, seven days a week.{} Since their inception, AFS has coordinated more than 20,000 missions for families in need of flights to distant medical treatment.{} In addition to the main office in Atlanta, AFS has branch offices in Greenwood, South Carolina and Tuscaloosa.

      You can contact Angel Flight at www.angelflightsoars.org or 1-877-426-2643