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15 Years On, Make-A-Wish Kid Is Now An Airline Pilot

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- This year marks WCCO's fourth year participating in "Wishes In Flight," our drive for airline miles benefiting Make-A-Wish Minnesota.

As a kid in Minneapolis's Nokomis neighborhood, Anthony Lickteig-Carter grew up with the sound of jets flying over his house.

"I can't remember not wanting to be a pilot, I can't remember it," Anthony said. "I came out with aviators on, ready to rock and roll."

Despite his unbridled passion, a future as a pilot seemed just out of reach.

"I was born with gastroschisis, and what that is, in a nutshell, is I was born with like my stomach on the outside of me," he said. "That led to a lot of difficulties growing up. You know, I was a smaller kid growing up, in and out of the hospital, whole bunch of surgeries."

But in 2001, after one final surgery, Anthony got his wish. He was going to be a pilot.

"They actually put me on flight, not in the flight deck though, but in first class, we flew to Milwaukee, got to, you know, talk with the pilots and I actually got to do the walk-around outside with him," Anthony said.

Anthony Lickteig-Carter
Anthony Lickteig-Carter (credit: CBS)

That day was transformative.

"It was probably the happiest time of my childhood, right there," Anthony said.

Seeing himself in the uniform, talking to what he called "like-minded people" -- pilots -- Anthony says he felt like his dream could come true.

"I always knew I wanted to do it, but actually getting to put on the hat and getting to taste it. It's like deal-breaker for me," he said.

Anthony, 29, is a pilot for Skywest Airlines, a Delta connection.

"I fly the CRJ 200, 700 and 900, specifically," he said.

Now, with the right runway assignment, the kid from south Minneapolis can see his childhood home from thousands of feet above.

"I just want everyone to know if you think about something, and you love doing it, chase it," Anthony said. "Chase it until you run out of gas."

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