purple heart veteran and service dog

Battle Scarred, Purple Heart

Paul is a veteran of the U.S. Army who served in Afghanistan. One day, he was on patrol with his fellow soldiers in a vehicle. That was when disaster struck: their vehicle ran over a roadside bomb. The impact of the blast threw him and the other soldiers onto the road. Some of them were killed instantly. “I lost some of my closest friends that day,” said Paul. After this event, Paul put on a tough façade so he could keep fighting. He was awarded a Purple Heart.

Even Heroes Need Help

But when Paul got home, he started having problems with his memory. Also, he couldn’t go out in crowds and started having nightmares and flashbacks. “I knew I needed help,” said Paul.

He went to the nearest VA hospital. A doctor at the VA diagnosed him with a Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress. The doctor also suggested a service dog to help Paul. Unfortunately, the best service dog facility was in Texas, hundreds of miles away from his home in Virginia. “I was going down a dark road,” said Paul.

“My New Best Friend”

Luckily, Mercy Medical Angels’ veterans program was able to help him. The non-profit provided free airline tickets so Paul could travel to Texas. Once in Texas, he received his service dog, Chase. Chase is an intelligent German Shepherd. He can sense when Paul is having a nightmare or flashback, and helps him navigate stressful situations. His vest is purple and gold, to represent the Purple Heart that Paul was awarded. Paul said that Chase is “my new best friend.”

When asked what he would say to potential donors, Paul gets choked up. “I don’t know how to thank Mercy Medical Angels enough. They are heaven-sent, helping us Veterans when we need it the most. They helped save my life.”

pancreatic cancer patient

Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis

Seven years ago, Johnnie was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. Because of the disease, he had to quit his job and apply for disability benefits. After two years, he had to apply for Medicare as well. Johnnie couldn’t find adequate treatment in his home state of Alabama. Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Illinois offered him flight assistance so he could receive radiation and chemo.

Red Tape

“This is where things got all messed up,” said Johnnie. A representative from Medicare told him that the cancer center couldn’t help with transportation anymore. “And just like that, my transportation to treatment ended.”

Mercy Medical Angels to the Rescue

Luckily for Johnnie, he found out about Mercy Medical Angels. Mercy Medical Angels provided flight assistance for Johnnie, so he could go to the treatments he needed. “In my mind,” said Johnnie, “they are nothing short of a godsend!”

As of 2015, Johnnie is in remission. “My cancer mysteriously vanished,” he said, “much to the amazement of my medical team.” However, the team at Cancer Treatment Centers of America wanted to be on the safe side. They required Johnnie to go back once a year for scans and blood tests. This was to make sure the cancer would not return; if it did, they could stop it early. Mercy Medical Angels has continued to fly him to checkups for the past four years. “Every time I have contacted them, they have been very professional and caring.”

“You Have Been My Angels”

Johnnie dyes his beard purple, the color for pancreatic cancer. He says, “It’s a great conversation starter so I can share with folks my journey.” It’s a journey that Mercy Medical Angels made possible.

“If it weren’t for the assistance from Mercy Medical Angels, I am not sure what I would have done. From the bottom of my heart, I thank each and every one of you. You have been my angels!”

multiple myeloma patient

Battling Multiple Myeloma

Thomas lives in Montana. The state is known for open spaces and awe-inspiring landscapes. But he can’t enjoy the natural beauty of his state. He has multiple myeloma.

Five years ago, Thomas was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. The cancer was in remission for a few years. But it struck back in 2016.

“My doctors are running out of treatment options in my home town,” said Thomas. His best option for treating the multiple myeloma was in Seattle. But there was one problem – a major problem. Seattle is more than 500 miles away from his home in Montana, and Thomas couldn’t afford the travel.

Thomas needed help and he needed it urgently. His life depended on getting to the treatment. It seemed like his time would run out.

Aid from Mercy Medical Angels and Hogan Foundation

Mercy Medical Angels and Hogan Foundation flew to the rescue. Mercy Medical Angels arranged flights for Thomas on Alaskan Airlines. Hogan Foundation helped with paying for the round-trip tickets.

“Our trip was so much easier,” said Thomas. Thanks to Mercy Medical Angels and Hogan Foundation, Thomas managed to get the treatment he needed.

On the return trip, Thomas missed his flight. He said that “the staff were friendly and willing to help.” He got back home safely.

Fight the Good Fight

Now, Thomas is back home. His health is beginning to improve. He’ll have to travel to and from Seattle for ongoing treatment. Mercy Medical Angels and Hogan Foundation will continue to help him with the long-distance travel.

When someone is diagnosed with multiple myeloma, it can seem like an unfair fight. Mercy Medical Angels and Hogan Foundation are in their corner, providing support through charitable transportation. With help from Mercy Medical Angels and Hogan Foundation, patients like Thomas can fight the good fight – and multiple myeloma meets its match.

help-patient-wheelchair
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Help Needed

Virginia lives in Oklahoma. She has a musculoskeletal condition called dropped head syndrome. The condition is very rare. Because of this, it’s hard for Virginia to find treatment. “We went to several doctors in the Tulsa and Fort Smith areas to try and get help,” said Virginia’s daughter, Tina. “None of the doctors have been able to help her.”

A specialist at Baylor University could help Virginia. Unfortunately, her journey to healing was full of roadblocks. “My mom is on a fixed income,” said Tina. “She can’t afford the commercial airline tickets to get her and myself to the doctor in Houston.” Also, dropped head syndrome severely limits Virginia’s mobility. As a result, she would need accommodations at the airport.

Flight to Healing

Luckily, Mercy Medical Angels and Hogan Foundation helped Virginia fly past the obstacles. Mercy Medical Angels arranged a flight for Virginia and Tina. Hogan Foundation covered the cost of the tickets.

They also made accommodations for Virginia’s limited mobility. “My mom was taken to and from gates in a wheelchair by courteous people,” said Tina.

“It was a very good experience for us.”

Baylor University

Once at Baylor University, the specialists ordered tests for Virginia. They managed to determine the exact nature of her condition. When the tests were complete, they made a treatment plan. Virginia finally got the help she needed.

Virginia will have to fly to and from Baylor University again. As treatment continues,Mercy Medical Angels and Hogan Foundation will continue to help her.

“So Blessed With Help”

Tina says that the flight was “great.” She adds that it would have been impossible to get treatment for Virginia without the assistance from Mercy Medical Angels and Hogan Foundation.

“We were so blessed with Mercy Medical Angels’ and Hogan Foundation’s help,” said Tina. “Taking care of my mom is a high priority. Mercy Medical Angels and Hogan Foundation helped me to provide what she needed. Thank you so much!”

Struggling with Autoimmune Disease

Nicole lives in Kentucky. The state is home to horse racing and boasts beautiful scenery. However, Nicole’s life isn’t easy. She has two forms of autoimmune disease, both of which harm her liver.

Race Against Time with Autoimmune Disease

A living donor transplant would give Nicole the best shot at healing from the autoimmune disease. Her sister was a match. “My sister is a hero,” said Nicole, “and gave me the gift of life by sharing half her liver.”

But living donor transplants are unavailable in Kentucky. Nicole would have to fly to University of Maryland in Baltimore. “I have been out of work due to my illness,” said Nicole. “And medical expenses rack up.”

With her medical costs rising, Nicole couldn’t afford the airfare to Baltimore. She was racing against time.

Flying Free

That was when Nicole found out about Mercy Medical Angels. Through a partnership with Southwest, Nicole was able to fly to Baltimore.

“My transplant team is in Baltimore,” said Nicole, “and they are able to handle my complicated medical case.”
When she got to the airport, Mercy Medical Angels coordinated with Southwest so she could have a wheelchair. She needed to do all her traveling on the same day as her appointment. Mercy Medical Angels and the airline accommodated for this as well.

Winner’s Circle

Thankfully for Nicole, the living donor transplant was successful. Her autoimmune disease is under control. Best of all, she’s on the way to healing.

She’s grateful for the assistance that Mercy Medical Angels and Southwest provided. “Mercy Medical Angels and Southwest saved the day, three times now!”

When autoimmune disease affects someone’s life, it can seem like they’re losing a race. Thanks to Mercy Medical Angels and Southwest, patients like Nicole have a chance to stand in the winner’s circle.

Tough Problems for a Teen

Jaidyn is a teen girl who lives in Missouri. She has multiple conditions that prevent her from living life to the fullest. She needed a feeding tube and a wheelchair to go long distances. Her mother, Tamena, was determined to help Jaidyn get better. “She has been fighting for almost three years to get back to being a normal, healthy teen,” said Tamena.The best doctors that could help Jaidyn were in Boston, MA. Jaidyn lives in Missouri – a distance of more than 1,000 miles. Round-trip airfare was extremely expensive. “Traveling back and forth so many times a year began to take a toll on our family,” said Tamena. “The thought of not being able to continue treatment because we couldn’t afford travel was such a weight for us.”

Flying Southwest

Thankfully for Jaidyn, Tamena found out about Mercy Medical Angels. The charity has a partnership with Southwest, which enabled Jaidyn to fly to Boston. Tamena is very happy with the experience of flying with Southwest. “If I have the option to pick an airline, Southwest would be our first.”

Some airlines have caused Jaidyn an unhealthy amount of embarrassment. They ask why a teen like Jaidyn needs a wheelchair. “She’s so young and doesn’t have a feeding tube hanging from her nose,” said Tamena. “This leads to the uncomfortable conversation… I can see her go from hopeful to embarrassed.”

However, Southwest doesn’t do that. “They always get Jaidyn the help she needs,” said Tamena, “and she is checked on by attendants during the trip.” The flights are consistently on time, “so we have never had to worry about missing a doctor’s appointment.”

“We have had nothing but a positive experience with Southwest.”

Healing and Hope

Tamena says that Jaidyn’s experience with Mercy Medical Angels and Southwest has been “renewing.” She adds, “This is so important, and the feeling is indescribable.”

When asked what she would say to donors, Tamena speaks from her heart. “Mercy Medical Angels touches and helps families in so many different ways,” she says. “Your gift aids in healing and recovery.”

When a teen like Jaidyn faces health problems, their lives are disrupted. But there is good news: Mercy Medical Angels and Southwest are there to help. Even when illness puts dark clouds over life, Mercy Medical Angels and Southwest will help teens and their families find healing and hope.

teen smiling
Jaidyn is on her way to healing and hope!

Operation Needed

Donna lives just outside Philadelphia. The city is famous for its role in history, holding artifacts such as the Liberty Bell. Unfortunately, Donna and the bell have something in common: damage. A rare disease takes a toll on Donna’s health. The only way to treat this was a complicated operation. “I could not find the help I needed where I live.” said Donna.

After much prayer and research, Donna found a surgeon in Fort Myers, Florida. “It was a journey for me, trying to find the right surgeon with the best outcome,” said Donna. This one was one of the best in his field, and could help Donna through the “very complicated” operation. “He is highly skilled and was willing to do his best to regain my quality of life.”

There was just one problem. Donna was unable to afford the cost of travel to Florida.

Making Contact

At a desperate moment, Donna found out about Mercy Medical Angels. The non-profit has a partnership with American Airlines, enabling patients to fly to medical care. “I contacted Mercy Medical Angels,” said Donna, “and I was approved!” Donna also needed a companion to assist before and after her operation. Mercy Medical Angels was able to help her with that as well. She and her companion could have round-trip tickets from Philadelphia to Florida.

“Mercy Medical Angels books our flights, requests a wheelchair, and secures our seats,” said Donna. “Everyone was so nice to us.”

Uplifting Results

Donna’s operation was successful. After that, the flight home was “easy to manage.” She’s now back home in Philadelphia, resting and regaining her strength.

“Many doors were opened,” said Donna, “when Mercy Medical Angels came through for me.” She adds, “I was well taken care of the whole time. My gratitude goes deep!”

Thanks to Mercy Medical Angels and American Airlines, patients like Donna can travel to a life-changing operation. From there, the partnership lifts them to a better life.

Bright Beginnings

Kyle was born in January, at an hour before the sun had risen. His mother, Brianna, “fell in love at first sight. He was so pure and perfect.” Brianna hoped Kyle would have a bright future.

Dark Shadow

Fast forward to June 2018, when Kyle was two and a half years old. Life was looking bright – until a dog brutally attacked him. Brianna rushed to the nearest hospital.

“Kyle’s body was lifeless in my arms,” said Brianna. “My heart broke as I was crying to the Lord, begging not to take away my heart and joy.”

When they arrived at the hospital, the doctors found Kyle a room and started treating his injuries. Even Brianna needed medical attention. The stress and fear of possibly losing her child prevented her from breathing normally.

Little Fighter

Two weeks passed. Kyle was put on life support and was in a coma. “But baby Kyle was a fighter,” said Brianna. “All the doctors and nurses who took care of him fell in love with him.” Kyle continued to show progress, despite the grim odds. Kyle became known as “the miracle boy” around the hospital. His healing brought a bright light to all who took care of him.

Eventually, doctors told Brianna that Kyle could hear her. Brianna began to sing to him. As she sang, “tears dripped from my eyes.” Kyle was only responsive to Brianna’s voice. For a long span of 54 days, Kyle was in the hospital. He could only breathe with a tracheostomy tube. On top of this, Kyle still needed maxillofacial surgery to correct his broken jaw.

Bright Flight

One of the doctors had told Brianna that World Pediatric Project might be able to help Kyle. Two representatives from the organization came to visit them. They knew of a doctor who could help Kyle. This doctor was based at VCU. The problem was, VCU was thousands of miles away from Belize, Kyle’s home country. “We could have never come up with the money to travel on our own,” said Brianna.

That was when Mercy Medical Angels came in. Through a partnership with American Airlines’ Miles for Our Wellbeing program, Kyle was able to fly from Belize to VCU. The first flight to treatment resulted in a surgery that put plates in Kyle’s face, to set the broken bones in his jaw. For the second operation, the plates were removed. In addition, Kyle no longer needed the tracheostomy tube to help him breathe, so doctors removed it – “which we are so happy about!”

Towards the Sunrise

Almost a year has passed since Kyle’s accident. “He’s on his way to a strong recovery,” said Brianna. She had been “lost and confused” when the injury dimmed chances at a bright future. Brianna had been worried that Kyle would have lived with constant suffering. She was also concerned that Kyle would be bullied at school “for something that had caused him so much pain.”

When asked what she would say to donors, Brianna chokes up. “Without you,” said Brianna, “who knows what the outcome would have been?”

“Kyle was one of many who got the opportunity of a lifetime, thanks to you.”

When illness and injury cast shadows on a child’s life, the situation can look truly hopeless. Mercy Medical Angels and American Airlines change this. With the help of Mercy Medical Angels and American Airlines, children like Kyle can travel towards the bright sunrise of hope.

bright future child
Kyle has a bright future ahead of him!

Rare Disease Diagnosis

Megan lives in Southern California. The area is known for sunny skies and warm weather year-round. It’s also a place of glamour and entertainment, home to Hollywood and the original Disneyland. However, Megan’s life isn’t all sunshine, smiles, and stars. She has a rare disease. Specifically, she has Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome (MALS).

She suffered “non-stop pain and nausea” for almost two years before receiving the MALS diagnosis. Then Megan ran into yet another problem. Megan said, “There are very few doctors where I live who are knowledgeable of this rare disease.” She had to go elsewhere for treatment.

Megan’s Flight

The best treatment option for Megan was a corrective surgery. She would have to fly to Cleveland Clinic. However, the renowned clinic was almost 2,000 miles away. Round trip airfare would drain Megan’s limited resources. She was still suffering from chronic abdominal pain, causing her quality of life to plummet.

That was when Megan found out about Mercy Medical Angels. The charity arranged a round trip flight through Southwest Airlines and the Hogan Foundation. Megan traveled from her home in Southern California to Cleveland Clinic. “Without Mercy Medical Angels, the Hogan Foundation, and Southwest Airlines,” said Megan, “there’s no way this would have been possible.”

The surgery was successful. After that, Megan had to stay for a week in Cleveland. Then she was able to return home.

Unstoppable

Nowadays, Megan is doing much better. She says that the transportation increased her quality of life. Also, the flights helped her to maintain physical and mental wellness.

When asked what she would say to donors, Megan’s answer spills forth in gratitude and joy. “Mercy Medical Angels, the Hogan Foundation, and Southwest Airlines were there for me at one of the toughest times of my life. I can’t thank them enough! Forever grateful!”

Sometimes a rare disease puts life on hold. But thanks to Mercy Medical Angels, the Hogan Foundation, and Southwest Airlines, Megan is unstoppable!

rare disease patient smiling
Megan won’t let a rare disease stop her!