Facing his fear of flying head-on, 12-year-old Richard Lange is a brave as kids can possibly be.
"Cool!" Lange exclaimed as he lifted off in South St. Paul.
While leaving the ground in a 6-seat airplane made him nervous, it's nothing compared to being diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.
Since he was diagnosed in February, Lange has been through 12 weeks of chemo, 5 surgeries and a stem cell transplant. His most recent operation was less than a week ago to replace nerve damage, and Lange is very open about the worst part of fighting cancer.
"The catheter," Lange told Fox 9 News. "I woke up from surgery and said I think they operated on the wrong part."
Just recently, Lange was declared cancer-free. To celebrate, the founder of the non-profit Love Your Melon arranged to send him flying. The group was started a year ago by two University of St. Thomas students.
"These kids, they are in need of more than just medicine throughout their treatment process," said co- founder Brian Keller. "Giving them a day to get out of the hospital and do something really special is, it's an incredible experience."
Co-founders Zachary Quinn and Keller both have relatives who passed away from cancer. Over the past year, the group has raised money for cancer research and encouraged kids in hospitals to love their melons despite the treatment that leaves them hairless.
With help from the mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Oct. 22 was declared Love Your Melon Day, and the founders decided to use the day to take awareness on the road. A traveling buss buzzed the heads of 71 people from St. Thomas to the University of Minnesota.
Eyerusalem Lemma was one of the women who sat down for a buzz cut.
"Especially with children, you never want to see them going through this," Lemma said. "Hair isn't important to me. For me shaving off my hair, it will grow back -- but someone going through treatment, they don't get that luxury."
With a new view of the world, Lange and his mom say other than beating cancer, nothing can make a person smile more than seeing new heights.
WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
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