For more than two years, Able Flight pilot Tyrell Rhodes fought cancer with great spirit and optimism, traits he displayed throughout his 21 years. On Friday morning, September 4th, 2015, with his family at his side, Ty passed away.
A lifetime of dealing with Cerebral Palsy never held him back as Ty accomplished goal after goal, including living his dream when he earned his pilot’s license through Able Flight in 2012. Raised by a single mom who serves as a Master Sergeant in the Air Force, Ty spent his life around airplanes, always looking up, and always dreaming of someday being in the cockpit looking down. Time after time he faced obstacles placed in his path by people who told him what they thought he couldn’t do, but he never gave in to the negative. That wasn’t Ty. Throughout high school he was known for studying books on flying whenever he had a spare minute, and then he discovered Able Flight, and in his scholarship application essay he wrote:
“I’ve been mesmerized by planes since I was a toddler. I remember
lying on my trampoline, watching planes fly by for hours, saying to myself “Wow, that’s what 1 want
to do.” Every year we attend the local air show and I’ve never gotten tired of seeing the precise
formations of the Thunderbirds, or ducking as the heritage flight screamed by me. At a young age, I
knew I was born to fly!
At the age of two I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. I wore braces and used a walker. One day, I
saw the movie Forrest Gump which inspired me. I watched the movie many times and wanted to be
like Forrest. Like him, I would run out of my braces and go on to do great things. With the bar set
high, I was determined to one day soar above the clouds, like the jets I saw from my own backyard.”
Able Flight was created for people like Ty, and with your help in establishing the Tyrell Rhodes Memorial Scholarship, we can make it possible for another person to leave their disability behind as they take control of a plane and become a licensed pilot.
Please donate to help reach the goal of $10,000 to fund a scholarship in his memory for 2016.
Simply visit our Donation page and enter the amount you wish to give and add Tyrell’s name under “Dedication”.
Thanks to the following donors who have supported the Tyrell Rhodes Memorial Scholarship:
Matt Brandon, Rita Brandon, Eric Cox, Patrick Del Selva, Rick Dorsey, Emily Edmunds, Jeffrey Goldberg and Allsion Black, John Herman, Allen Horsens, Leslie Hunt, Ted Klapka, Nicholas Losande, Gregory Malott, John Morgan, Justin Pascoe, Tony Passannante, Candi & Dave Reiheld, Jessica Scharle, Bob Seidel, Alexander Smith, Christopher Stewart, Charles Stites, Mark Susnis, Ron Vanderhei, Arnold White, Bernie Wulle, 458th Airlift Squadron