On Wednesday, April 1, at 7:00 p.m. Frankfurt (Germany) time, the crew of a Boeing 767-300F’s started an exceptional freighter flight to Santiago. LATAM Cargo did not only transport stem cells for the first time, but also had the aircraft’s pilots in charge of guarding them. These stem cells were urgently required by a 9-year-old minor suffering from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Stem cells such as these one are usually transported in passenger aircraft, but due to the reduction passenger frequencies this transfer was at risk. Because of this, using a freighter –which currently enjoy more freedom of transit due to their relevance to global supply chains- became the only feasible alternative.
After being contacted by the DKMS Foundation -an entity that aims to find compatible donors for blood cancer patients and/or facilitate their access to treatment, anywhere in the world- LATAM Cargo committed to transporting the stem cells compatible with the girl. In order to accomplish this, a multidisciplinary team from LATAM Group—composed of more than 30 people—worked in planning the routing, operation and crew training necessary for the transportation and manipulation of the stem cell. initiative was developed along with.
This trip is part of the company’s Solidary Plane program, which has addressed health needs for 9 years in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile. The program facilitates the transportation of patients that require medical treatment, multidisciplinary health teams, organs, tissues, stem cells and medicine, as well as medical supplies.
“At a time when many are turning off their engines, there are flights that become more important than ever, as are those of our Solidary Plane. We are facing the largest crisis in our history, but we will make every effort possible so one of our flights can provide a person with a life opportunity”, stated Gonzalo Contreras, LATAM Cargo’s Captain, who flew the airplane carrying the stem cells.
In turn, Ignacia Pattillo, DKMS Chile’s Executive Director, stated that “even though many hospitals are delaying treatments and surgeries that are not urgent, there are cases that cannot wait. These include blood cancer patients that require a stem cell transplant as soon as possible, before the disease gets out of control”.
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