PITTSBURGH, Pa. When Russell Hendersen, a World War II veteran, met with an organization that fulfills wishes for hospice patients like himself, he had a simple request: He wanted to fly in a hot air balloon.
That connection is how the 102-year-old veteran found out it’s never too late to make a wish — and have it come true.
Hendersen is a hospice patient at Three Rivers Hospice in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who made a “dream” end-of-life request to the Western Pennsylvania-based organization Don’t Stop Dreamin.’ The organization works with those in nursing homes, and patients in hospice in partnership with Quality Life Services, which includes Three Rivers Hospice.
After receiving his application, the organization told CNN it went to work locating a handicap-accessible balloon basket to accommodate Hendersen’s wheelchair. They located a basket through the United States Hot Air Balloon Team, and shortly after, they were ready for Hendersen’s big moment.
On Thursday, Hendersen was loaded into the balloon and took off into the sky for a 60-minute ride. His journey was captured on video and shared on the organization’s Facebook page.
After the ride, Hendersen told the organization: “Even at 102, I can still do big things. I knew I could do it and it was wonderful.”