Fullerton, Anaheim work together to give leukemia patient special ‘lift’ to hospital

Lyle waives to her family before lifting off

Lyle waives to her family before lifting off

Caitlin Lyle, a Troy High School grad battling Leukemia, received a special ride – in an Anaheim Police Department helicopter – Monday for her fourth round of chemotherapy.

“I just can’t believe how much support everyone’s shown us.  Words just can’t say what it means to us as a family,” said Dan Lyle, Caitlin’s father.

Representatives from Fullerton’s police and fire departments worked with APD to have Lyle picked up from her house and driven to Fullerton airport.  Her caravan included Truck 1, FFD’s ladder truck, the Bearcat armored SWAT vehicle, a police cruiser, and the FFD Battalion Chief’s truck.

From there, APD flew her over parts of the city, – including Disneyland, Angel Stadium, and her high school – eventually landing on top of the Kaiser Permanente off La Palma Avenue.

Plans were laid last month at a lunch between Anaheim’s Lt. Bob Dunn and Fullerton’s Sgt. Jeff Stuart  when Dunn complimented a previous trip Lyle took courtesy of FPD and FFD.

Stuart floated out the idea that the two work together to give her a ride in Angel when she would return for another round of chemo.  Dunn quickly agreed and said he would bring it up to interim Chief Raul Quezada.

“It wasn’t even a question.  He said yes before I finished the request,” said Dunn.

Lyle landed at Kaiser Permanente’s Anaheim Medical Center with more than 20 officials from the hospital ready to welcome her for treatment.

“Kaiser Permanente is more than happy to help in any way we can,” said Scott Kelly, Assistant Area Director of Public Affairs. “As you can see, Caitlyn is a special young woman and just bringing that smile to her face is our greatest gift from her.”

Most everyone involved in making Lyle’s flight possible have a close tie to cancer.

Quezada’s daughter, now 18, was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of three; Stuart’s sister lost her battle with cancer three years ago, and FPD Officer Matt Wilkerson’s wife – a close friend of Stuart’s – is currently fighting the disease.

“Our rapport is such that this was easy to make happen despite all the moving parts.  That only raises confidence in our teamwork the next time we need each other,” said Stuart.

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