Like many other physicians at Mayo Clinic, thoracic surgeon Mark Allen, M.D., has had his share of patients thank him for the care he's provided. As you might guess, most choose traditional ways to show their gratitude, like letters, emails and phone calls. There aren't too many, we can only assume, who hop in a plane and fly across multiple state lines just to say "thank you." But one day last week, that's exactly what 22-year-old Calvin Page did.
The purpose of the high-flying visit, Rochester's KTTC-TV reports, was two-fold. Calvin's main purpose was to thank Dr. Allen for the life-saving care he received after being diagnosed with infectious pneumonia and a "rare birth defect called bronchopulmonary sequestration." His doctors back home in Indiana had been "a little concerned" about the complexity of the surgical fix required.
When Calvin came to Mayo Clinic, he was greeted with answers and reassurance. "From the moment Dr. Allen walked into the room, he was very confident in what needed to be done and in his ability to execute it," Calvin tells us. "The level of confidence he had only gave me more confidence that he was the right person to do my surgery. His overall knowledge and demeanor outweighed that of other doctors we'd talked to before coming to Mayo Clinic."
With successful surgery to remove the abnormal lung tissue caused by his birth defect behind him, Calvin set out on another quest. He and two other Indiana University graduates planned to set a Guinness World Record by flying to and landing in each of the lower 48 United States in the shortest amount of time. The trip included a stop in Southeast Minnesota. "I was here just a year ago under very different circumstances," Calvin told KTTC during the trio's short layover in Rochester. "When we were planning our route and saw that Minnesota and the Rochester area would be an efficient stop, we were really excited to hopefully meet [Dr. Allen] again to thank him for giving me the opportunity to do something like this."
Calvin tells us it was well worth the short weather delay they had to wait out to land in Rochester safely. "It was really surreal to see him again in person and to be able to thank him as a former and now healthy patient," he says of Dr. Allen. "Mayo Clinic, and all those who work there, truly is the best. I'm really glad we came."
While Calvin and company are hoping to break a World Record, the Indiana Daily Student reports the trio also is raising money for the Indianapolis Aviation Career Education Academy, which introduces middle school and high school students to careers in aviation. "We were fortunate enough to have pilot training and mentors in our life, so we wanted to give these kids something similar," Calvin tells the paper. He also has a message for those students, telling KTTC he hopes his story will show kids that "even if you get knocked down, you can still get back up."
You can read more of Calvin's story here. Then, take flight with us by sharing your comments below before using the social media tools atop this page where you can share this story with all your favorite wingmen and wing women.