Collect frequent flyer miles from people who don’t need them and give them to those who desperately do, to visit terminally ill loved ones with cancer.
Pete Dimmer was quite a guy.
He was my father my coach, and my friend. He was tinkerer and an outdoorsman. A kind soul. And pretty healthy for a 65-year-old.
Until the fall of 2011. A routine gallbladder surgery revealed that he actually had pancreatic cancer. Stage 4. If you don’t already know, basically that means I had little to no time left with my dad. I had just relocated to LA from Chicago with my wife, Jess. We were settling into new jobs and new lives, making new friends. But without thinking twice, we decided to travel home every chance we could get. Every weekend. Sometimes longer. Because we didn’t want to miss a moment. And… because we could. Because every holiday, weekend, day, minute, second… could be our last together.
Looking back on it now, though it is all still so painful to recall, I feel so blessed that I was there. I was there right after he was diagnosed. I was there when he got sicker. I was there for his last cognizant moments. I was there for his last moments of life. And I was there when he died.
About a month before dad passed away, it struck me. What do people do when they can’t be there? Jess and I had been so fortunate, to be able to make all those trips without so much as blinking. It pained me to think of those who couldn’t see their loved ones before their passing… simply because they couldn’t afford the cost of travel.
I was inspired to create a non-profit company. Our mission is to give those who cannot afford to travel the opportunity to visit their loved ones dying of cancer, so they can cherish the last holiday, weekend, day, minute, second… together.
In my father’s last days and beyond, stories came pouring back to us. How he — as a father, coach, friend, neighbor — always went the extra mile to help anyone in need. So our name, The Extra Mile, just beautifully fell into place.
Now others can have the chance I had: To say goodbye.
Matt Dimmer founded The Extra Mile during a personal experience he shared with his late father. Just after relocating to LA, his dad (living in Michigan) was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer stage 4. Matt began traveling back and forth to see him, at least once a month. This went on for seven months, and during this time, there was plenty of time spent alone on airplanes reflecting on life.
One Sunday after returning home from a weekend with his dad, he and his wife were sitting in their backyard when he had an idea. Did anything out there exist that allowed frequent flyer miles to be donated to those less fortunate who may be in a similar situation? Without the same means, was everyone able to have the intimate conversations that he was having with his father? Would they, at best, only be able to afford to attend the funeral from out of town?
After posting the idea on his social networks, the support came pouring in. It didn’t exist, and there were clearly others that had experienced what he was going through. It was then that he knew he needed to fill that void. Matt was able to show his dad the early beginnings of the organization on one of his last trips home and legally added his father’s initials to the name of the non-profit. Currently, The Extra Mile seeks to collect unused frequent flyer miles, as well as monetary donations, either of which is then donated to people in need of traveling to visit loved ones terminally ill with cancer.
Matt is a Creative Director, and father of 15 month old twin boys currently living in Chicago with his wife. He runs the organization by himself as a passion project, but hopes to partner with an airline in the future.
I want to create a legacy that gives back.
My boys weren't able to meet their grandfather, Pete, but they will learn about him and everything he did to give back to the community. They'll also know that their dad is doing what he can to make the world a better place, even if it's just a small gesture. This organization is something that they'll be able to continue on with as well, until this terrible disease is cured.
- Matt Dimmer
We are a nationally recognized, solely donation based, 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, whose mission is to do good.
Please note that as we are completely donation based, and we're only able to help people when we have sufficient donations.
To donate air miles, please email Matt below with the airline where you're miles exist.
Spread the word of what we're trying to do, and follow us on social media to see our latest progress and connections we're making.