Young boy battling cancer becomes pilot for a day


— (CNN) — A Virginia boy put his cancer battle on hold to be a pilot — just for a day — at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

Eight-year-old Kwami Penty of Falls Church, Virginia, has a rare malignant brain tumor, but on Thursday he took a break from chemotherapy for what would end up being a very special experience.

“It’s really exciting, most spectacular thing I’ve ever done,” Kwami told CNN affiliate WJLA.

He arrived at the base and met Maj. Cliff Taylor, of the D.C. Air National Guard, who would be his wingman for the day. Wearing his own green flight suit and matching green cap, Penty was then escorted in a Humvee to a welcoming ceremony. Service members gathered in the audience to see Kwami, his left hand raised, get sworn in as an honorary pilot.

“To see his courage and how he handles his situation and how he never puts on a sad face, certainly never in front of me, it’s just a magical experience,” said Taylor.

‘I feel special’

Throughout the day, Kwami got to try on different pilot gear and fly a helicopter in a simulator.

Kwami’s day of wonder at Joint Base Andrews was provided for by the Check-6 Foundation, which arranges and funds experiences like these twice a year for children who have serious illnesses.

“I feel special,” said Kwami. “My dad and my sister and my mom made this all happen, and I couldn’t have done it without them all.”