Battling Bile Duct Liver Cancer

Marlin was diagnosed with bile duct liver cancer. The doctors in his local area were unable to treat it. As he searched for treatment options, Marlin found out good news and bad news. The good news: specialists at MD Anderson could help him. The bad news: MD Anderson was more than 700 miles away from home. Also, the long distance presented a second problem: “Travel, especially by air, is expensive.”

His treatment required frequent round trips. “I have to go every two to three months,” Marlin said. Marlin needed help, and he needed it quickly.

“A Tremendous Help”

Fortunately, Marlin wasn’t fighting solo. Mercy Medical Angels arranged flights for Marlin, through Delta. However, there was an added obstacle: bile duct liver cancer had sapped Marlin’s energy. He needed a wheelchair to get around the airport. Marlin said, “Delta was very helpful with wheelchair assistance.”

“Mercy Medical Angels was a tremendous help in making my flight to MD Anderson Cancer Center possible,” said Marlin.

Frequent Flyer

Marlin was able to fly to MD Anderson twice. His battle isn’t over yet, but he’s on the way to healing. Mercy Medical Angels will continue to help him fight through flight.
“Mercy Medical Angels eased the financial burden of the trip,” said Marlin. Without the stress of uncertainty, the travel assistance enables him to focus on treatment and healing.

I am very thankful for their help as I battle bile duct liver cancer.”

Marlin’s Message

When asked how he would describe Mercy Medical Angels in one word, Marlin answers with sincerity and gratitude. “My one-word description would be ‘great’,” said Marlin. Aside from this answer, Marlin adds a message to potential donors.

“For those who can give financial support to Mercy Medical Angels,” he said, “I would recommend this organization as a great place to help others in their time of need.”

Marlin has a long road ahead of him. But with the help of Mercy Medical Angels and Delta, he doesn’t have to walk it alone.

bile duct liver cancer patient at md anderson
When it comes to cancer treatment, Marlin doesn’t have to walk alone.

Cardiac Troubles

In 2017, Brenda went to the doctor for a series of tests. The results were grim: she had blood clots in her lungs. She had to take blood thinners to dissolve the clotting. She was put on oxygen so she could breathe more easily. More tests revealed more problems: Brenda had a hole in her heart. These two conditions may have proven fatal – unless she could get specialized surgery to fix her cardiac troubles.

Racing Against The Clock

The best cardiac surgeon to help Brenda was located in San Diego. However, Brenda lives in Illinois. She’d have to fly more than 1,500 miles away from home to receive the surgery. Long-distance airfare would have drained her resources. Worse, time was running out. Brenda’s life depended on the flight.

Gracious Assistance

Mercy Medical Angels was able to help Brenda fly to San Diego for the surgery. Her mother accompanied her. Since it was their first time flying, they didn’t know what to expense. “The airline was very helpful,” said Brenda. The airline made sure to provide wheelchairs. Aside from the usual help, Brenda and her mother received assistance with their carry-on luggage.

One of the highlights of flying is a bird’s-eye view of the landscape. Brenda and her mother were experiencing flight for the first time ever, and didn’t know what they were looking at. Luckily, the airline was happy to help. “The pilots were really helpful when it came to sights that you could see below.”

Overall, Brenda said her flight was “great.”

Saved in San Diego

Once in San Diego, Brenda rushed to the hospital. The surgeon had to fix the hole in her heart. On top of that, the blood clots in her lungs had gotten worse. Nineteen clots had to be removed. It was a difficult operation, but Brenda made it through.
“It was a life-saving procedure,” said Brenda. The surgery went beyond saving her life. It also improved her life overall.

Not the End

Brenda says she couldn’t access the surgery without the flight assistance from Mercy Medical Angels. She thanks Mercy Medical Angels for their role in saving her life. “Without your help,” she said, “I don’t know how long I’d be here.”

Now, Brenda is on her way to healing. She’s experiencing a better quality of life. She can breathe easy knowing her finances are stable. Most importantly, this is not the end for Brenda. It’s a new beginning.

When cardiac patients like Brenda encounter deadly conditions, Mercy Medical Angels gives them the freedom to live.

Unhappy Holidays

The holidays are a season of gratitude and giving. Some may celebrate in good health. However, there are many individuals who aren’t as lucky during this happy time – such as breast cancer patients.

Imagine if this holiday season you were diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. On top of that, your oncologist tells you that you only have a few months left to live. A warm, loving season immediately turns cold and cruel. The winter’s beauty becomes a whiteout blizzard of despair. And otherwise happy holidays twist into a time that is rather unhappy.

This scenario was the reality for Serenity.

Fighting for Her Life

Serenity lives in California with her son. At the time of her breast cancer diagnosis, her son was only two years old. The oncologist told her she had three months left to live. Serenity didn’t accept this grim statement for a final answer.

“I refused, in a haze, to take that prognosis for an answer,” said Serenity. “I was determined to fight but I didn’t know where to turn next.”

One of Serenity’s friends decided to research different cancer centers. MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston offered the best chance at treating her breast cancer. There was even a glimmer of hope that they could save her life. There was only one problem. The cancer center is almost 1,500 miles away from her home. Her income is limited, and she has to take care of her son as well as herself. Traveling to the treatment would be almost impossible. “I just don’t have the funds,” said Serenity.

Fight through Flight

Mercy Medical Angels worked together with Southwest Airlines. Southwest Airlines had a flight available. From there, Mercy Medical Angels secured round-trip tickets. Serenity was able to fly to MD Anderson for cancer treatment.

“In the three months that I was given to live, MD Anderson did not give up on me,” said Serenity. The doctors that treated her “sped into high gear.” In those three months, Serenity had the best care possible.

“Mercy Medical Angels helped keep me alive by flying me to Houston for my treatments and scans,” said Serenity. The flights from Mercy Medical Angels and Southwest helped Serenity to fight breast cancer. Most importantly, they managed to save her life.

The Best Gift of All

Serenity isn’t giving up her battle. She has “top of the line doctors” continuing to help her. Mercy Medical Angels and Southwest will keep flying her until the cancer goes away.

In a season where people focus on gifts, cancer patients like Serenity have a reason to celebrate. She thanks Mercy Medical Angels and the donors for their role in saving her life. And life is the best gift of all.

Choosing to Give

It’s almost the end of the year. You’re probably getting mail from lots of charities, asking you to give. And it gets very overwhelming, very quickly. What’s a generous individual to do? Well, there’s an easy answer: donate to Mercy Medical Angels.

Now, you’re probably asking a question. “Why should I donate to Mercy Medical Angels instead of another charity?” Here are the top five reasons to give to Mercy Medical Angels…

Five Reasons

  1. You can trust Mercy Medical Angels to do the right thing. The support and trust of donors like you is critical. It has enabled patients to access medical care for more than 45 years. You can find financial information and trip reports on our website. Also, your information is secure with us. Our ethical practices have paid off – we’ve earned Charity Navigator’s four-star rating for the past 11 years.
  2. Your gift goes to good use. We’re efficient and responsible with funds. 93{f77eda0a441a5392985456a36d9467949e304252615cb77080f0e5eccc27b851} of all donations go directly to helping patients in need. You can rest assured that your gift to Mercy Medical Angels will change – and perhaps even save – a life.
  3. You can help anyone. Maybe you’re fighting alongside a loved one in the battle against cancer. Maybe you’re passionate about saving a child with a rare disease. Or maybe you’re hoping to heal a veteran’s unseen scars. Your donation will help all of these people, and more.
  4. You can make meaningful connections. Visit the website at https://mercymedical.org/. Also, follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mercymedicalangels/. You can read the stories of the people we’ve helped, enjoy uplifting content, and find other people who share your interest in making a difference.
  5. You’re giving the gift of life. Some gifts don’t come from a box, but from the heart. Hearing a child laugh and talk about their good times at Victory Junction. Sharing in the gratitude of a family when they realize healing is in reach. Witnessing a veteran receive their new best friend. Your support of Mercy Medical Angels is changing and saving lives every day. And to the people you help, life is the best gift of all.
hands and heart give
When you give to Mercy Medical Angels, you will make a difference!

Rare Cancer and Shadows

Holiday lights can come in many shapes: candles, stars, or bulbs. Displays can be simple or downright impressive, clear or colorful. No matter how the lights look, they all bring to mind the meaning of the holidays. Joy to the world, peace on earth, and kindness to all – they light up the night and warm the cold. But when someone has a rare cancer, this bright time can seem unnaturally dark. The disease ravages their body and weakens their spirits.

For a cancer patient like Nancy, the lights may as well have burned out.

Further Difficulties

Nancy has a rare cancer called paraganglioma. Very few physicians know how to treat it. Worse, it doesn’t respond to chemo. “The local oncologists didn’t know this until I had already gone through chemo,” said Nancy. During that time, a large tumor developed behind her heart. After the failed chemo, they tried surgery – which had to stop before it damaged her heart. Even after extensive surgery, the cancer continued to attack.

Nancy’s best option to treat this rare cancer was beam radiation. However, it’s not available in her local area. To receive this treatment, she would have to travel all the way to MD Anderson in Houston, TX. The renowned cancer center is hundreds of miles away from Nancy’s home.

Traveling would be a challenge in itself. “My husband was my caretaker and travel companion. He passed away in June,” said Nancy. Nobody could help her.

“I didn’t know how I would get there.”

Up and Out

That’s when Mercy Medical Angels and the American Cancer Society (ACS) came to the rescue. A long, hard journey was much easier. “They made the problems tolerable,” said Nancy, “and I had a pleasant experience.”

Nancy said that Medical Angels and ACS “relieved me of a lot of anxiety about traveling to Houston.” Although she still has to go for yearly checkups, she feels confident as MD Anderson helps her fight. “They’re on the cutting edge of cancer treatments,” said Nancy.

With the beam radiation, the rare cancer is in remission.

Lights Keep Shining

Mercy Medical Angels and ACS are powerful allies in the battle against cancer. Nancy’s fight isn’t done yet, but she knows that the two organizations will continue to help her – and people like her. “If you don’t have transportation, they help you get there,” said Nancy.

Nancy said that Mercy Medical Angels and ACS “are a godsend.” Thanks to the flights to treatment, her life is brightening up – just in time for the holidays. Even when cancer casts a shadow on life, cancer patients like Nancy can enjoy the lights of hope.

Family Matters

When the holidays come around, family naturally follows. Children stock up on candy canes and cookies. Grandparents, aunts, and uncles tell stories. Parents try to keep things in order and have fun at the same time. People give gifts, traditions play out, all have fun.

But what happens if a relative is sick? Hospital visits, medical bills, and other problems can flip the fun family time upside-down. If the unthinkable happens, celebrations can turn to mourning.

So it was for John and his family.

Hurting Heart

John is married and has four young children. He worked hard to support his family, and tries his best to be a good husband and father.

In 2011, John was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). HCM is a rare heart condition. “Back then,” said John, “my cardiologist didn’t explain to me how serious the condition was.” The problem was, HCM is very serious.

Unaware of this, John continued his career as a police officer. Five years passed as John continued living his life. But the physical aspects of his job made the symptoms of HCM clear. John began to experience extreme shortness of breath. He suffered from chest pain and irregular heart beat. His physician found his bloodwork was out of balance. “I was referred to a new cardiologist,” said John, “and he stated my condition was beginning to worsen.”

Turning Point

As time went on, John’s condition only got worse. He was put on medication, which had adverse side effects. Between the original problem and the side effects of medication, he had to stop working. His wife’s job was now the only source of income. This put a burden on John and his family. In his words, they “faced extreme financial difficulty.”

John began to research his condition and possible treatments. He found one, a surgery called a septal myectomy. This open-heart surgery would alleviate the symptoms of HCM. “It would possibly return me to my life that I was able to have before,” said John. The only problem: the best surgical center was too far away, and travel was too expensive.

Luckily, Mercy Medical Angels and the Hogan Foundation helped. They helped coordinate flights so John could travel to receive the surgery. “Without Mercy Medical Angels and the Hogan Foundation,” said John, “receiving this procedure would have been nearly impossible.”

Straight from the Heart

John is now on his way to recovery. He says that Mercy Medical Angels and the Hogan Foundation saved his life.

“My family is so grateful for what Mercy Medical Angels and the Hogan Foundation have done for us. Once my health improves, we can give back what we can.”

This holiday will probably be different for John and his family. But with his health coming back and his family by his side, John has a reason to celebrate.

John with family photo tee
The shirt says it all: John’s heart belongs to his family.

Too Heavy for Flight

“The financial stress of flying out of state for treatment, every two weeks, takes a toll quickly.”

This is how Wendy describes what happened to her. She was recently diagnosed with cancer. Her local doctor said that her best shot was an experimental treatment at MD Anderson. Long-distance travel was one more problem, and an expensive one at that. Wendy lives in Florida. Her home was more than 950 miles away from the cancer treatment center in Houston. Flying back and forth to Houston was hitting her hard – financially and otherwise.

The high cost and compounded stress was a burden. Wendy was caught in an impossible situation.

Eliminating Cancer, Relieving Stress

Sometimes it’s the impossible situations that turn around the most drastically. Mercy Medical Angels and the American Cancer Society helped Wendy do just that.

The two organizations teamed up to ensure Wendy could travel to MD Anderson without so much stress. She was able to obtain a round-trip ticket for free. It gave her “security that I would be able to make it to my next appointment.” She adds that it “brought great relief.” The fact that her stress is gone accelerates the healing process.

Wendy is able to travel to MD Anderson. She’s on her way to healing. The experimental treatment is getting rid of the cancer. Although previous treatments damaged Wendy’s body, she’s starting to get her strength back.

Doing the Impossible

Wendy’s message to donors is clear as the sky after a storm. “You are making a world of positive difference in the lives of others in great need.” When people donate to Mercy Medical Angels, they can change – and save – the life of a cancer patient like Wendy.

“I am so grateful for the people who make the impossible a reality.” With help from Mercy Medical Angels and the American Cancer Society, Wendy is turning an impossible situation on its head. She’s proving that anything is possible.

wendy cancer patient
Wendy is able to access an experimental cancer treatment that’s changing her life.

Cancer and a Complicated Problem

When Lettie was diagnosed with cancer, she needed chemotherapy. Her best treatment option was at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. The treatment was available. Expert oncologists could help her on the journey to healing.

Lettie encountered a major problem, and it seemed difficult to solve: traveling the treatment center. Long distance and high cost were hurdles that she couldn’t clear on her own. “I am unable to take that 11 hour drive now to get to my treatment center,” said Lettie, “and I can’t afford to pay the airfare.”

With Her All The Way

Mercy Medical Angels was able to help Lettie. The charity worked with Southwest Airlines to obtain plane tickets for Lettie. As cancer had stolen her energy, Lettie also needed a family member to provide care during travel. Mercy Medical Angels and Southwest ensured that her husband or brother could come with her as caregivers. “This is a trip that I won’t be able to take by myself,” said Lettie. “Most times I’m needing my caregiver.”

“I don’t know what I could’ve done if it wasn’t for Mercy Medical Angels and Southwest making sure I got to my oncologist and chemo appointments,” said Lettie. She expresses her gratitude and relief for the charity and airline “allowing my husband, Shelton, or my brother, Reggie to fly along with me.”

Taking Flight

Lettie’s experience with Mercy Medical Angels and Southwest “has been awesome.” She says that “the pilots are caring and sensitive to my needs.” Southwest has a reputation for being fun to fly – and for Lettie, this held true. “The pilot was funny over the intercom, and so was the stewardess. It made us very relaxed and calm.” She says that it “didn’t feel like I was traveling to have chemo.”

“We Will Always Be Thankful”

Lettie shares her story with almost everyone she encounters, both in-person or online. When describing Mercy Medical Angels, Lettie’s gratefulness overflows: “I truly believe Mercy Medical Angels was heaven-sent. We will always be thankful for them.”

When asked what she would say if someone asked to donate, Lettie’s answer soars from the center of her heart. “I encourage everyone to please give to such a wonderful charity such as Mercy Medical Angels. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here today.”

“Thank you, Mercy Medical Angels and Southwest.”

Lettie receiving cancer treatment

Join us in the flight to help others!Our Angel Flight Mid Atlantic Pilots are Ready to Fly in Supplies! Items will be dropped off at the Kinston, NC Airport and distributed to all of Eastern North Carolina, New Bern, Morehead City and Wilmington!

ITEMS NEEDED:

  • Toiletries for Men and Women

  • Toilet Paper

  • Moisture Wipes

  • Baby/Infant Supplies

  • Baby Bottles

  • Formula

  • Baby Food

  • Diapers

  • Wipes

  • Rash Cream

  • Pet Food

  • Batteries

  • Clean Clothing (all sizes)

  • Towels

  • Bed Linens

  • Bleach

  • Puzzles

  • Coloring Books/Crayons

  • OTC Medicine

  • First Aid Items

  • Contact Solution

  • Pens

  • Paper

  • Hand Sanitizer

Please note that food and water are NOT needed at this time!

Those items are being taken care of by other organizations and the military.

 

To donate to the efforts please DONATE HERE

For information about organizing a collection, please email donations@mercymedical.org!

 

CURRENT DROP OFF LOCATIONS

Virginia Beach

Mercy Medical Angels

4620 Haygood Road, Suite 1

 

Primeplus @ME Cox

644 North Lynhaven Road

 

Norfolk

Primeplus Norfolk Senior Center

(inside the Norfolk Fitness & Wellness Center)

7300 Newport Ave., Suite 100

 

 

MayDay To Give for those affected by Hurricane Florence!

Join us in the flight to help others!

 

Our Angel Flight Mid Atlantic Pilots are flying in supplies daily!

The MayDay to Give campaign is going strong, but we still need your help!

As promised, we are updating the needs from the areas most affected by

Hurricane Florence.

Lists will be updated weekly.

ITEMS NEEDED:

Lumberton, North Carolina

Cleaning Supplies

  • Bleach
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Work Gloves
  • Brooms, Mops, Dust Pans
  • Disinfectants (especially those that kill mold)

Baby Items

  • Baby Supplies
  • Diapers
  • Baby Formula
  • Baby Food

Other Items

  • Non-perishable food (this area is good on water, but won’t turn away if donated)
  • New Clothing (with tags)
  • Sheets
  • Towels

Kinston and Beaufort, North Carolina

School Supplies (schools will be reopening next week)

  • Backpacks/Bookbags
  • Dry Erase Markers
  • Pencils
  • New Binders
  • Loose Leaf Paper
  • Spiral Notebooks
  • Liquid Glue
  • Glue Sticks
  • Kid Size Safety Scissors
  • Folders

Baby Items

  • Diapers

Cleaning Supplies

  • Contractor Grade Garbage Bags
  • Bleach
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Work Gloves
  • Brooms, Mops, Dust Pans
  • Disinfectants (especially those that kill mold)

DONATE HERE

For information about organizing a collection in your area, please email donations@mercymedical.org!

We have pilots ready to go wheels up and deliver supplies in the following states: Michigan, Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana.

CURRENT DROP OFF LOCATIONS

Virginia Beach

Mercy Medical Angels (Haygood Area)

4620 Haygood Road, Suite 1

Primeplus @ME Cox 

644 North Lynhaven Road

Changing Lives Martial Arts (Princess Anne Area)

3809 Princess Anne Road, Suite 116

Go2 Firearm Safety

3809 Princess Anne Road, Suite 115

Changing Lives Martial Arts (Red Mill Area)

 2277 Upton Drive, Suite 704

Norfolk                                                                                     

Primeplus Norfolk Senior Center (inside the Norfolk Fitness & Wellness Center)

7300 Newport Ave., Suite 100

Chesapeake

Changing Lives Martial Arts (Greenbrier Area)

1400 Kempsville Road, Suite 102

#MayDay2GIVE          #HurricaneFlorence          #HopeDeliveredDaily