Hampton House resident Helen Rykuiter, 82, got to tick off a bucket-list item Thursday: flying over the Fraser Valley in a small plane. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress)

Bucket-list flight for Chilliwack grandmother

Hampton House resident treated to a beautiful plane ride in Moments that Matter

Helen Rykuiter always dreamed of seeing the beautiful mountains of Chilliwack from high above.

She got her wish as she took off for an hour-long flight Thursday morning in a four-seater Cessna.

The Progress dropped by the Chilliwack Airport just before the feisty grandma took to the skies.

“I thought it would be a good idea to take my grandchildren to see the Lower Mainland,” Rykuiter said. “But they chickened out. So I am the only one who is going, and I am super excited!”

Rykuiter said she’d flown in all kinds of larger aircraft, but never the kind with a single propeller that you have to climb into with the help of a step-ladder.

“I think this is such a beautiful area and I want to see the mountains from above, and the lakes, and whatever I am going to see. So that is why I wanted to do this,” she said.

The whole stunt was thanks to the Chartwell ‘Moments that Matter’ program at Hampton House in Chilliwack.

The Moments That Matter is kind of like “a bucket list” effort for the residents at Chartwell, said Hampton House Lifestyle Program Manager Tracey McDonald.

“Helen Rykuiter wanted to fly around the valley and our maintenance manager Matt Deakin happens to be a pilot. So here we are,” explained McDonald.

There were members of Rykuiter’s family on-hand to cheer her on, and several supporters and friends from Hampton House. As she headed onto the tarmac there were cheers.

“This is a really great chapter for seniors,” McDonald said about the Moments That Matter program. “It came from head office but we really made it our own, and the bucket lists have begun!

“So we are really excited to share this today.”


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Tracey McDonald, Lifestyle Program Manager at Hampton House, and Helen Rykuiter, before the flight. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress)

Helen Rykuiter before her maiden flight. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress)

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