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PILOT FOR A DAY EVENT: Honoring 12-year-old Carolyn Shaffer

Carolyn Shaffer
Carolyn Shaffer

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, MD, 5 April 2017 — The Check-6 Foundation has once again teamed with Joint Base Andrews to provide a once in a lifetime Pilot for a Day experience to a Maryland girl who has battled cancer and emerged victorious.

Carolyn Shaffer is 12 years old and resides in Davidsonville, Maryland – just outside Annapolis. A year ago, she was diagnosed with Acute Myloid Leukemia (AML), a type of quick spreading cancer that starts in the blood-forming cells of the bone marrow. Immediately after being diagnosed, she began an aggressive treatment program at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. With the loving support of her family, friends, and community, the treatment was successful! Miraculously, Carolyn has been in remission and off treatment for 9 months. Along with her parents, Dave and Sara, she lives with her 4 siblings – Catherine (14), Anthony (9), Matthew (6) and Brigid (2). Carolyn is an incredible warrior, with an amazing spirit. The Check-6 Foundation will honor her strength, courage, and determination as a Pilot for a Day on April 28th. She is the 20th Pilot for a Day hosted at JB Andrews since its inception in 2004.

Lt Col Rob Balzano, a pilot in the DC Air National Guard has been coordinating the event for over 10 years. He founded the Check-6 Foundation in 2006 with the goal of expanding the Pilot for a Day program. “We are honored to share Carolyn’s story as an inspiration to other children battling cancer. Her story is one of relentless courage and amazing resiliency “, commented Balzano.

As an “honorary” pilot, Carolyn will be paired up with her “Wingman,” Lt Katelyn Potts – a KC-135 pilot with the 459th Air Refueling Wing. Guided by her Wingman and volunteers from numerous squadrons and organizations at Joint Base Andrews, Carolyn will don her own personalized flight suit, fly a UH-1 Huey simulator, tour multiple aircraft (such as the F-16,KC-135, and MD State Police helicopter) and participate in a variety of base demonstrations, including the K-9 unit, fire department, SWAT team, and air traffic control tower. Lunch is graciously provide by Check-6 partner, Mission BBQ of Annapolis. The day will culminate in a closing ceremony complete with some very special presentations. After the event, the family will enjoy an all-expense paid stay at the Gaylord National Harbor and dinner at McCormick & Schmick’s Steak and Seafood, thanks to an ongoing partnership with both businesses.

Each year, the Check-6 Foundation (, organizes and funds two Pilot for a Day events for seriously ill children. George Onyenyeonwu, retired Air Force Major, and Vice-President of Check-6 helps coordinate the events. “Being part of such an amazing team and witnessing how our foundation makes these children smile, motivates me to want to do even more for the family’s we support”, said Onyenyeonwu.

Check-6 is run entirely by volunteers, referred to as “Wingmen”, ensuring that 99% of funds raised through annual events, donations and corporate giving go directly to aid the children and veterans it serves. Their mission is to provide aid, assistance, experiences, purpose, inspiration and hope to children battling serious medical conditions and military veterans in need. This past year alone, they have provided over $45,000 in direct financial aid to those they support, living up to their tagline, “the Wingmen that have your back!”

For more information, please visit

Contact:, 862-CHECK6-6 (862-243-2566),

Check-6 Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit, CFC Approved Charity, and Approved to operate on JB Andrews. Tax ID#80-0461034.

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