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  • Writer's pictureSun Country

Standing strong together: A Sun Country Pilot’s journey with Make-A-Wish

Greg and his son Ryan during Make-A-Wish flight

Greg Norland, a First Officer at Sun Country Airlines, has been an integral part of our Flight Operations and Pilot team since 2021 with nearly three years of dedicated service. Behind his professional role with us is a remarkable personal story—one of resilience, hope, and gratitude.   


"In 2022, my son Ryan was diagnosed with a Rhabdoid Tumor, a very rare and aggressive growing childhood cancer," Greg shared, reflecting on the challenges his family faced. "We spent months in and out of hospitals...  undergoing various surgeries, multiple rounds of aggressive chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant." 


Navigating through their child’s treatment, Greg and his family found comfort in our Sun Country employee community. "During Ryan's treatment, Lindsay (former Chief Pilot) and the Chief Pilot Office took so much stress and anxiety off my plate," Greg recalls. "They were with us every step of the way, continually checking in and reminding me that they were only a phone call away should we need anything."  

Ryan during treatment in hospital bed

As Ryan battled bravely, the Norland family found hope in the light at the end of the tunnel. "By the grace of God, I'm happy to report Ryan recently celebrated one year in complete remission," Greg shared.  

During their journey, Make-A-Wish Minnesota granted Ryan a wish. The family took their trip to Disney World this April. Greg shared with us that his family experienced VIP treatment: "The trip kicked off with a limo ride from our house to the airport, and from there, it was pure magic." 

Ryan in cockpit during Make-A-Wish flight

At Disney's Toy Story Land, Ryan's wish came true as he met his hero, Buzz Lightyear, in person. "The joy on Ryan's face was priceless," Greg recalls. "But the real magic happened at Give Kids The World Village—a haven for families like ours, where every moment was filled with joy and laughter." 

Reflecting on his journey, Greg shares heartfelt gratitude for the support he received from his colleagues. "I'm so grateful for the care provided by our Flight Ops. team and Chief Pilot Office," he emphasizes. He commends their exceptional support during tough times, noting their role as a beacon of light. Greg also praised our commitment to Make-A-Wish, highlighting initiatives like the yearly Airplane Pull and Flight to the North Pole. "I'm so proud to be a part of a community overflowing with people with big hearts and open hands," he added. 

Greg also extends sincere thanks to Make-A-Wish for their transformative impact. "Thank you for your continued partnership," he expresses, recognizing their profound difference in children's lives. His story serves as a poignant reminder of the power of compassion and community, inspiring us to continue making a positive difference.  

We in turn want to send our deepest gratitude to Greg for sharing his journey and his son for inspiring us with his resilience. We also express our sincere appreciation to Make-A-Wish Minnesota for their invaluable partnership, allowing us to positively impact the lives of families like the Norland's.   

At Sun Country, we remain committed to serving our Minnesota community with compassion and dedication, ensuring that together, we can support moments that matter most. Read more Make-A-Wish stories below.   


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