Columbia, SC (WLTX) - There were more planes in the air than usual in Columbia Saturday, all for a good cause.
"As I left the airport drove by the hospital and I said you know what would be really cool, if we took sick kids flying," said Mike Roberson.
From that moment on Mike Roberson and a group of pilots came together to form "Free To Be Me." They go around from city to city and take sick kids and their siblings flying.
"It's unfortunate that they are sick but we want them to forget about that we want the entire family to be together as a family and build memories and just forget about everything that is going on and be free to be themselves," said Roberson.
"It's long--we stay in the hospital for about two weeks at a time when we go," said Megan Mahoney.
Sixth grader Austin Mahoney lives in Columbia and has Cystic Fibrosis. His mom Meagan says she thinks more events like these are needed for kids who are always in the hospital.
"It's an awesome thing that they are doing letting kids play games and go on plane rides and food," said Mahoney.
Robertson says seeing the smiles on their faces make him feel like he is doing something positive.
"If I didn't have these sunglasses on you would see me tearing up right now. It is so wonderful to see that we can raise their spirits for a few minutes if not longer," said Roberson.
For Austin this was his first time flying in a plane."I am scared. I am just scared how high we are going to go," said Austin.
But after taking off and seeing the city, he's ready for another flight.
"He says he wants to go again," said the Austin's pilot.
"We saw the fair and Carolina Stadium and Williams-Brice Stadium," said Austin.
For these families -- seeing their children in the hospital can be discouraging but days like today gives them motivation to keep pushing forward.
"It feels great it is nice to know that someone is helping us out. Anytime that someone is in the hospital and needs something to do its fun," said Bryant Deaton.