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High-flying dreams of young cancer survivor get Toronto Air Show liftoff


An Ontario boy who beat cancer three times before the age of six years old got the opportunity to get up close and personal with his dreams of becoming a pilot at the Canadian National Airshow Thursday.

“It was so cool,” eight-year-old speed enthusiast Marky Czutrin told CTV News after a tour of a CF-18 cockpit. “It made me think that I was in the air show and that I was controlling the plane, and it made me so happy.”

Czutrin was one of the first children in Canada to undergo CAR T-cell therapy back in 2019, following two and a half years with leukemia and two relapses before the disease went into full remission.

He was one of several highflyers-in-training – guests of Peel Regional Police who got up close and personal at Pearson Airport on Thursday with fighter jets and the stars of Canada’s largest air show, taking place this Labour Day long weekend.

“Our mission here is to get the younger generations and the next kids to replace us one day,” Maj. Kristin “Beo” Wolfe, United States Air Force pilot and Commander of the USAF F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team, told CTV news Toronto.

(CTV News Toronto)

The air show runs from noon until 3 p.m. on Sept. 3 to 5.

One staple of the event for years will be absent: the Canadian Forces Snowbirds confirmed last week the Tutor jets—which are nearly 60 years old—will not make the trip to the Canadian National Exhibition after being grounded following an accident on Aug. 2 in Fort St. John, B.C.

Little details have been released about the accident.

Other performers include the Canadian Forces Skyhawks: Canada’s only military parachute demonstration team. Members helped show the young enthusiasts on Thursday how to properly pack a parachute for deployment.

Canadian Air Force Capt. Jesse “Modem” Haggart-Smith will be the opening act, soaring in one of Canada’s legacy CF-18 stealth jets.

“It’s an absolute blast—it’s a dream come true I get to go up there,” said the CAF 401 Tactical Fighter Squadron pilot.

While Cuztrin says, like the Sonic the Hedgehog on his hat, he is fast—he says he isn’t sure just yet if he wants to fly a commercial airplane or something with a little more zip.

“Maybe if I practice a lot I could fly a million or a thousand miles per hour,” he surmised Top Stories

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