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D-Day plane flying into Boro Saturday
Public invited to celebrate Airport Day
W Tico Belle
The Tico Belle, a vintage World War II plane that actually took part in the D-Day invasion, will fly into the Statesboro-Bulloch County Airport Saturday as part of Airport Day. - photo by Special

A vintage World War II plane that actually took part in the D-Day invasion will fly into the Statesboro-Bulloch County Airport Saturday as part of “Airport Day.”

The event also will serve as a fundraiser, combining family fun with raising money for two area cancer patients.

There will be planes and helicopters on display, Warbird airplane rides, a “Chopper Drop” raffle, inflatables, food trucks and more, according to spokesman Josh Whitfield.

Proceeds will help Clay Chandler and JD Fulcher, both fighting cancer.

“The main attraction will be a Douglas C-47, the Tico Belle, which actually flew in the invasion of Normandy,” said airport manager Kathy Boykin. “The Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum has agreed to bring the aircraft to Statesboro for the weekend. They will be selling memberships to the museum. A membership will include a ride in the Tico Belle.”

According to the event’s Facebook page, Chandler was diagnosed last summer with T-cell large granular lymphocytic leukemia. After several rounds of chemotherapy and other treatments, it was decided he would need a stem cell transplant. Chandler is currently at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and received his transplant in early February.

Since the transplant, he has been recovering in Texas and will continue to do so for approximately 100 days.

Also according to the Facebook page, Fulcher was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia in June 2016. It happens when the bone marrow and blood contain too many immature white blood cells, or B-cells (lymphoblasts). Since his diagnosis, Fulcher has withstood several procedures and is currently on chemotherapy treatment.

The objective of the chemotherapy is to destroy all leukemic cells and to prevent the bone marrow from making more. During his current phase of treatment, Fulcher receives a variety of about eight different chemotherapy drugs at any given time. The oncologist keeps a check on his cell count and spinal fluid regularly.

The Airport Day event will be held at the Statesboro-Bulloch County Airport at 601 Airport Blvd. from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Admission is free but donations are accepted, Whitfield said.

“We hope this event will offer a new experience to Bulloch County and surrounding areas while helping contribute to both families as they have been faced with unexpected medical costs, travel expenses and other costs associated with such a diagnosis,” he said.


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