Dorian Layton (at right), his mother Krishelle, and his brother Julien pose for a photo before their helicopter ride with Wyoming Life Flight vendor Air Methods. The Air Methods crew gave the Laytons a 20-minute flight around Casper to help the family check off an item from Dorian’s bucket list.
Today, Ninja Dorian checked off an item on his bucket list.
Air Methods, which operates Wyoming Life Flight and transports patients to and from Wyoming Medical Center, took Dorian Layton for a short helicopter ride around Casper. Dorian’s big brother, Julien, and mother, Krishelle, rode with him.
We first met 5-year-old Dorian on Christmas Eve when
he delivered gift bags to children who had to spend the holiday at Wyoming Medical Center. He used $200 from his cancer fund, money a family member donated so that Dorian could buy whatever he wanted for Christmas.
Dorian has a tumor on his brain stem. It is inoperable and untreatable. His doctors in Texas told his mother to go home to family and let Dorian concentrate on being a boy. You can read his entire story
here. You can also like his Facebook page, Karate Chop Cancer with Ninja Dorian, for updates on his bucket list. Or, donate to his cancer fund at www.gofundme.com/DoriansSword-of-Lightning.
Below are a selection of photos from his big day. Thank you to the staff and crew at Air Methods for helping a young boy live each day to the fullest.
Flight paramedic Brad McKee writes a message to greet Dorian and his family to the Air Methods hangar at the Casper/Natrona County International Airport on Thursday morning. “This means everything to be able to help someone out like this,” said McKee, clinical base supervisor. “I think sometimes we forget how cool our job is. We’re just excited to get to hang out with this little kid.”
Dorian Layton, 5, puts his Spiderman hat over his new Wyoming Life Flight hat. The whole family left with a lot of flight crew loot from Air Methods, including T-shirts, flying pins, candy and a stuffed Husky dog.
Helicopter Pilot Chuck Nelson leads the flight briefing before departure, similar to briefings that precede each Air Methods flight. He told the Laytons about seat and shoulder belts, the communication head sets and about being safe in a helicopter. “It’s kind of windy right now, and when you get near the mountain, it gets real bumpy,” he told them. “We won’t crash?” Dorian asked. “No. We won’t crash,” Nelson answered.
Air Methods flight paramedic Brad McKee gave Dorian the flight pin from his own badge. It’s the same pin that all flight crew members wear.
Dorian poses in a flight helmet equipped with a pair of night-vision goggles used by Air Method crews when transporting patients in the dark. He and his brother, 9-year-old Julien, each got to test a pair in the dark. “Like the ‘Ghost Adventures’ people, so you can see in the dark?” Julien asked. Julien waved at Dorian in the dark to see if his worked with lights turned off. “You look like an undead zombie right now,” Dorian said
Julien takes a turn sitting in the pilot’s seat before take-off as Dorian looks on.
Dorian takes his turn at the controls as Pilot Chuck Nelson explains how a helicopter takes to the air. Nelson used to be a Marine One pilot, flying two United States presidents: “I flew Reagan and Bush elder. That and $1.16 will get you a coffee at the Kwik-E-Mart,” he said.
Flight nurse John Perry shows a ‘thumbs up’ with Dorian on the Air Methods airplane on Thursday. Air Methods planned to take the family up in the plane as well as the helicopter, but the plane was soon after called out to fly a patient to Denver.
An Air Methods ground crew worker pulls the helicopter out of the hangar to prepare for take-off.
Air Methods crews prepare the helicopter for its flight with Dorian and Julien anxiously waiting to climb on. After Dorian, Julien and Krishelle were all safely buckled in, flight paramedic Brad McKee offered this advice: “Make sure you guys know where those puke bags are.” They flew for about 20 minutes, the last half of which Dorian spent with his head in his mother’s armpit.
The crew and the Layton family pose for a photo next to the fixed-wing airplane after the helicopter flight. They are, from left, pilot Chuck Nelson, grandmother Carolyn Hackworth, flight nurse Jennifer Zettl, flight nurse John Perry, Dorian and Julien Layton (top in plane), Vivien Layton, Krishelle Layton, flight paramedic Brad McKee and flight paramedic Jeremy Lemaster. Zettl was a critical care nurse for 20 years before becoming a flight nurse about 6 months ago. “For me it was a bucket list job,” she said. “I loved to fly, I always admired our flight crew and I loved being a critical care nurse.” She has five children herself. The oldest is almost 16 and the youngest is 5, Dorian’s age. “This is a bittersweet honor. I’m so happy to help give this kid an awesome experience. I just wish it was under different circumstances.” The Laytons planned to visit a Casper fire station after their visit to Air Methods to let Dorian see a fire truck up close. Even though he has toured a fire station before, he doesn’t remember. His tumor has impacted his long-term memory. “He forgot that he’s ever been to a fire station, so we are remaking the memory,” his grandmother said.