Flying around the world in 80 days for autism research at SickKids

A veteran pilot, dedicated philanthropist and loving grandfather has chosen to take on an amazing adventure: flying around the world in 80 days to raise $250,000 for autism research at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). The motivation behind Dave McElroy’s journey is his two grandsons, Wyllie and Finn, who have both been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. Because of Wyllie and Finn, Dave knows how scarce the resources are to detect and treat autism. With FlyRTW80, he wants to support the research to help his grandchildren.

On May 12, Dave departed from Toronto’s Billy Bishop airport in a two-seater, single engine aircraft. His family was there to give hugs, kisses and a bon voyage to grandpa before he left.

To reach his fundraising goal, Dave is inviting sponsors to accompany him in the vacant seat on the plane. For the first leg of his journey, Brian Elcock of Welco Lumber in Vancouver joined him for five days and over 3,000 nautical miles from Toronto to Perth, Scotland. They stopped in a few cities along the way, one being Goose Bay, Labrador.

On May 23, John Cameron, CEO of Terramec Services International Ltd met Dave in Haifa, Israel to join him on a leg that will take them to Singapore. John attended Dave’s launch at Billy Bishop to present a cheque to SickKids Foundation in support of Dave’s journey.

Dave will then be reunited with his long-time friend, fellow pilot and co-founder of the FlyRTW80 project, Chris Elgar.

Dave and Chris developed the FlyRTW80 initiative after Dave decided that, during his retirement, he wanted to give back to healthcare organizations that do ground breaking autism research. Dave’s original idea was to drive solo in his RV but Chris suggested using their Comanche 180, C-FYHU airplane and the rest was history.

Throughout Dave’s journey with sponsors and Chris, he will stop in cities around the world to continue fundraising and raising awareness. He’s been acknowledged all over the world for his achievements. Check out some of the people he’s met and places he’s been along the way on the FlyRTW80 Facebook page.

Along with their goal to raise $250,000 for SickKids Foundation, Dave and Chris will raise another $250,000 for Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA), which also greatly contributes to pioneering autism research.

To donate or to follow along with Dave’s journey around the world, visit the FlyRTW80 website.

On behalf of everyone at SickKids, we want to thank Dave, Chris and all of the FlyRTW80 sponsors for their support and wish them safe travels.

See more at: http://www.sickkidsfoundation.com/skf-blog/2014/06/flying-around-the-world-in-80-days-for-autism-research-at-sickkids#sthash.PnKHehic.dpuf

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