But he was determined to beat those odds, even when it meant fighting for his life while pursuing his dream.
First Lt. Robert Hansen says going after his childhood dream to become a fighter pilot after attending law school was a big risk.
But it wasn't until he discovered that a lump on his neck was stage 2B Hodgkin's Lymphoma did he think that his dream might fly away from him.
“At the time I didn't think I'd ever be able to be a pilot in the Air Force, so I started looking at it, saying am I ever going to fly again, am I going to have to find a different career?” he said.
Hansen underwent a year and a half of treatment full of chemotherapy and radiation and eventually beat his cancer.
His wife, Robin, says it was Robert's attitude though that was the most powerful treatment.
“I think that positivity that he had just really helped him heal, and I feel that it almost healed him more than medicine,” she said.
To Robert the cancer was just another patch of turbulence in his pursuit of his wings. And once he was cleared to fly again, he did.
“For me that first flight back was unreal, I was just ready to fly, I was excited, I knew what I was suppose to be doing and focusing on, you could probably hear it on the hub tapes I was just smiling the whole time,” he said.
“When he got his wings it was just like happy tears, I was like shaking and he asked why are you crying and I said I'm not crying, I am just overcome with emotions,” Robin said.
Overcome by a journey with several bumps, but ultimately landed safely.
Not only did 1st Lt. Hansen earn those wings, he finished at the top of his flight class.
He and Robin will move to Florida where he will get to fly his dream plane the F-22.
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