Our mission on this flight is to help individuals coping with a rare genetic disease called Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP) and help find a cure to it. This disorder causes bone to form in muscles, tendons, ligaments and other connective tissues. Bridges of extra bone develop across the joints, progressively restricting movement. Because of its rarity, research funding is very limited. Dr. Frederick S. Kaplan of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia is leading the genetic research on FOP. When we learned that Whitney Weldon, a twelve year old girl from New Jersey was diagnosed with FOP we decided to give our trip a purpose.
We hope that our flight around the world will in some small way increase public awareness and raise money for the International FOP Association. This organization provides support to families dealing with this disease, and to the research community trying to find a cure for it. A special page has been created on IFOPA's web site to receive your pledge in connection with our "Flight For The Cure".