Fly for MS: International flight for a cause that hits home

A pair of pilots and a photographer next week will begin a journey of thousands of miles, land in dozens of countries, and speak to hundreds of people — all to promote a single cause.

The trio represents Fly for MS, a startup non-profit that seeks to bring awareness, raise money and provide hours of flight to the many who suffer from multiple sclerosis.

Pilots Keith Siilats and Andrei Floriou (pictured above) will take off from New York with Florian Trojer, a volunteer photographer from Austria.

Floriou, a former financial investor, told the Wall Street Journal that he has red the $100,000 price tag to fly, so all money raised will go toward research and treatment.

Their Cessna 340 will make stops in Canada, Greenland and Iceland before dotting the European map. Landings in Russia, Turkey and Israel get sandwiched between a return swing through southern Europe and the flight home. [more]

In all, the tour will span 30 countries in 60 days, log 29,000 miles and use 150 hours of flight time. It will represent the home nations of 70 percent of the more than 1.2 million people affected by MS worldwide.

The team members involved with the project are equally as diverse and international as the voyage itself. They include a dozen 20-and-30-somethings, from college students to investment bankers, a police officer and a fashion model, hailing from the United States, throughout Europe and Israel.

Along the way, the group will give plane rides to sufferers so they can receive treatment or merely experience the joy of flight. Medical specialists also will be flown into cash-strapped MS hospitals to provide care.

“We will use the attention drawn by the boldness and record-making magnitude of our undertaking, which fascinates and fuels the imagination of people not previously familiar with MS, to inform them about the disease and the lives of those touched by it, their hopes and despairs, their challenges and unbelievable strength,” a statement from Fly for MS said.

To follow the journey and get updates from the group along the way, click here.

To donate in increments as little as $3, click here.