Stage 4 Cancer Survivor Learning To Paraglide

"Flight For The Cause really has changed my life and has made my heart soar in ways I never would have imagined. I can't thank them enough." - Brian Jessen

In 2019 Flight For The Cause donated time to help restore  life and hope to a very special person we met on the Oregon Coast nearly 4 years ago. His name is Brian Jessen, and he is a stage 4 cancer survivor.

Brian Jessen, Stage 4 Colon Cancer Survivor

Here is Brian's incredible story of hope and perseverance

Nearly two years after taking my first ever tandem paraglide flight, I found myself constantly recalling that breathtaking experience during many of my anxiety-inducing post cancer medical checkups.

I would close my eyes, and recall the wind on my face with that carefree and weightless feeling. I would meditate on that experience and envision sharing flight with eagles, and then I would fill myself with gratitude that I am cancer-free, and now have this new virus called "the flying fever". 

Catching “the flying fever” was a serendipitous encounter. 

It was 4 years ago after I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and had two major operations. My five year survival rate was 14%. The experience was very damaging to both my physical and mental health. After recovering from the worst of it, I took the opportunity of still being alive to do some adventuring. I decided I wanted to travel from my home country of Luxembourg to Oregon.

During that trip, my New Year’s resolutions was to mediate and watch as many sunrises and sunsets as possible. One evening, while sitting in the sand at the Oregon Coast, I noticed a paraglider gracefully maneuvering through the sherbet colored sky and over the sand dunes where I sat. When the paraglider landed, I got to chatting with him, and he asked if I would like to try and I said “Yes!”

Let me tell you, it was an inexplicable thrill to running like a turkey, then bending your arms back like wings — suddenly to be lifted up by a breeze and then soaring like a bird. All my hardships disappeared in an instant. Nothing seemed to matter as this sensation made me feel so giddy and light.

Later that evening, Daniel Randall, the paraglider who provided me with this life-altering experience,  encouraged me to keep alive my new dream of learning to fly, and to come back to visit  for lessons when I could. 

Three years later I returned to Oregon and visited the Flight For The Cause crew which graciously provided me with free paraglide lessons.

After a week of training in Oregon, I am back home in Luxemburg and working on finishing my solo paraglide rating. Flying has given me new dreams of life and adventure. I want to travel to places like Nepal, Australia and beyond with my paraglider that fits nicely inside what I now call my magic backpack.

Flight For The Cause really has changed my life and has made my heart soar in ways I never would have imagined. I can't thank them enough.

Brian Jessen
Cancer Survivor, Paraglide PIlot

We cannot wait to be flying with Brian in the future. His outlook on life is so positive despite all the hardships he has been through. Thanks for being such a great friend and positive influence in our lives Brian! We hope you have a great time flying back in your home country and around the world.

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