Arthritis: Lifelong Struggle

Jeremy has had arthritis since he was six years old. At 25, he needed both his knees replaced. Just three years later, he needed a double hip replacement. Now, his wrists and elbows have deteriorated to the point of requiring surgery, “For the last thirty years, arthritis has destroyed my joints,” Jeremy said. “It’s very hard for me to do daily activities, let alone be a husband and father.”

Four orthopedic doctors were unable to help. Finally, he was referred to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. There was just one problem: traveling to Mayo Clinic.

Above and Beyond

Mercy Medical Angels provided Jeremy free flights to Minnesota and back. Better yet, his brother was able to accompany him. Jeremy found “two of the greatest surgeons” at Mayo Clinic. They were confident they could restore his quality of life. “That gives me hope,” said Jeremy.

In Jeremy’s words, Mercy Medical Angels went “above and beyond” to help with applying. “They treated me with compassion and truly cared about me even after my flight.”

When asked about what he would say to potential donors, Jeremy asked for people to give to Mercy Medical Angels today. “There are so many people like me who are desperate for help, but can’t afford to travel to a hospital that can help them. Every donation helps.”

Blessing

In one word, Jeremy describes Mercy Medical Angels as a “blessing.” It starts with transportation, but it doesn’t stop there. Thanks to the treatment he’s receiving, Jeremy’s life is getting better. He’s starting to spend more time with his family. He’s regaining mobility and ability.

Jeremy still has some challenges on the horizon. But he knows that arthritis won’t keep him down.

Jeremy arthritis patient and son
Jeremy with his son at the library. His quality of life is improving after treatment at Mayo Clinic.
Jeremy arthritis patient with son
Jeremy can stand tall for his son.

Neuroendocrine Cancer Strikes

Two years ago, William started having health issues. Doctors dismissed it. His wife, Terri, began to worry. “They kept saying he had food poisoning,” said Terri. However, she suspected it was more than food poisoning. Then, a blood test confirmed her worries: William had neuroendocrine cancer.

The cancer spread rapidly through William’s body. It attacked his pancreas. He needed a major surgery to remove it. After the operation, he had to stay in the hospital for a month.

“We save every penny just to keep a roof over our heads,” said Terri. The surgery and hospital stays were expensive, and the cancer wasn’t quitting. She had to find a better option to save William’s life.

Best Shot Is A Long Shot

Neuroendocrine cancer is extremely rare. Because of that, very few doctors can correctly diagnose and treat it. Dr. Liu is one of the top specialists in the country. Aside from treating the disease, he tries to spread awareness of it.

There was only one problem. Dr. Liu’s practice is in Denver, CO – over 1,700 miles away from William’s home. The round trip tickets would be too costly.

In His Corner

Mercy Medical Angels and the American Cancer Society teamed up to support William. Through a partnership with Delta Airlines, the American Cancer Society can help fund transportation for cancer patients. Mercy Medical Angels arranges the travel.

William was able to travel to Denver. His daughter accompanied him. “Mercy Medical Angels enabled us to get there,” said Terri, “which relieved our financial struggles.”

Back in the Fight

Dr. Liu compared the treatment options to “tools in a toolbox.” It requires much more caution than a construction job: “You have to use the right tools at the right time.” One tool is an injection. It has kept the cancer in check for a whole year. Another tool is a Gallium scan. It makes images that are more precise than an MRI, and can spot tumors that would normally go unnoticed.

The way neuroendocrine cancer develops is borderline unpredictable. “You really have to follow closely.” said Terri. Dr. Liu is doing just that. The treatment plan involves working with doctors whose practices aren’t so far away. This careful monitoring will ensure that William has the best shot at life.

Eyes on the Prize

William’s fight with neuroendocrine cancer is is far from over. “We’re confident and positive that we’re doing the right thing,” said Terri. Knowing a specialist is on their side “gives us hope.”

“William still has a lot of living to do.” said Terri. Mercy Medical Angels, the American Cancer Society, and Dr. Liu will make sure that happens. Fighting neuroendocrine cancer is hard, and the disease won’t pull any punches. But with a strong corner, William is ready to win the next rounds.

William stands with Dr, Liu, a specialist in treating neuroendocrine cancer
William stands with Dr, Liu, a specialist in treating neuroendocrine cancer.

Signature Flight Support in Norfolk stopped by to visit the office. They donated $7,500 to Mercy Medical Angels. Needless to say, we’re over the clouds. So what can we say to Signature Flight Support except… THANK YOU!

Signature Flight Support in Norfolk gave a very generous donation to Mercy Medical Angels!

Unexpected Crisis

“Our life was going along smoothly. We never thought that we would have a crisis come up that would turn our lives upside down.”

This was Joanne’s reaction when she found out that her son, Jonathan, had a serious illness. Jonathan’s illness required surgery. Very few doctors are qualified to perform the procedure he needed. The doctors that could best help him were in Florida – a long way from home.

Joanne couldn’t afford plane tickets. That meant she’d have to drive Jonathan to Florida. The drive would last 15 hours. Traveling such a long distance would be a strain on both of them. “Large medical and dental expenses, missing work and being away from our support system became a reality,” said Joanne.

Smooth Flight

As the date of Jonathan’s surgery came closer, the struggles were only getting worse. Joanne requested aid from Mercy Medical Angels. They stayed in contact all the way, relieving Joanne’s worries.

“I was kept informed during the entire process,” said Joanne. “I had no problems getting my questions answered in a timely manner.”

Mercy Medical Angels coordinated flights with Southwest. Joanne is grateful for the travel assistance: “I wanted to thank Southwest for being so generous with the airplane ticket.”

The return flight occurred shortly after the surgery. By that time, Jonathan’s mouth was wired shut. A commercial flight ensured he would make it home much more quickly. It also made it easier for Joanne to take care of him on the way back.

Life-Changing Support

Mercy Medical Angels and Southwest Airlines gave Jonathan the assistance he needed. Joanne is grateful. “Knowing that we had the support of Mercy Medical Angels and Southwest helped us get through the tough times.”

Sometimes an unexpected crisis, like Jonathan’s illness and surgery, turns a family’s life upside down. Mercy Medical Angels provides life-changing support. And with their help, even the worst problems in life can turn right side up.

Jonathan outside, taking it easy after surgery
Jonathan is enjoying the outdoors after surgery.

Cancer Patients’ Unknown Battle

Imagine this scenario. You or a loved one has cancer. A new, promising treatment is available. However, the best hospital to give this treatment is too far away. You have to fly hundreds or even thousands of miles. Long-distance travel will strain your budget. The battle just got more hostile. Worse, many don’t know about your critical need.

This is the reality for many individuals. They often turn to the American Cancer Society for help. When a cancer patient needs assistance, the American Cancer Society often refers them to Mercy Medical Angels. Mercy Medical Angels arranges free transportation. This way, patients can access the best care available.

Team Effort

Mercy Medical Angels provides free transportation to medical care for those who can’t afford the cost of long-distance travel. One way we accomplish our mission is through partnerships with commercial airlines. These airlines help the American Cancer Society through fundraising efforts, allowing for research and treatments.

Aside from the visible fundraising, there’s another life-saving partnership. As stated before, cancer patients don’t always have the means to access distant treatment. That’s where we come in. There’s a program where frequent flier miles donated through Delta go to the American Cancer Society. From there, the miles go to Mercy Medical Angels. The miles allow us to secure medical flights for those who need it the most.

You Can Help

We can’t do our good work alone. If patients are flying at no cost, someone has to cover it. You can help. One easy way is to donate your frequent flier miles through Delta Airlines. Here’s how:

      1. Go to https://www.delta.com/buygftxfer/displayDonateMiles.action
      2. Choose American Cancer Society
      3. Log in to your Skymiles Delta account
      4. Confirm donation

For the Win

Mercy Medical Angels and the American Cancer Society are powerful allies in the battle against cancer. When you donate your frequent flier miles, you lift patients towards hope. Together, we can fight this disease – and win!

There are more than 40,000 organizations that help veterans and their families. With so many charities to choose from, the options become overwhelming.

One of the best charities in this category is Mercy Medical Angels and their veterans program, Angel Wings for Veterans. Our mission is to ensure that no veteran in need is denied clinical care because of a lack of transportation. 100{f77eda0a441a5392985456a36d9467949e304252615cb77080f0e5eccc27b851} of your donation goes directly to help veterans and their families. You can easily find other information on our website – financials, how many trips we’ve completed daily or monthly, and testimonials from individuals whom we have helped.

By now, you’re probably thinking: “How exactly do you help veterans and their families?” Here’s a list of 10 ways we accomplish our mission…

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How Tony Met His Service Dog, Cinch

Tony is a Navy veteran who lives in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. Like many other veterans, he would benefit from a service dog. The facility best able to help him was in San Antonio, TX. The two cities are more than 1,500 miles apart. The long distance was just the first obstacle. Airfare would be expensive – and traveling with an animal is a challenge in itself. (more…)

Daniel Valentines
Mercy Medical Angels help Daniel and his mom when he needed us!

Daniel had a rare condition that caused a tumor to grow behind his eye. The best hospital that could help him was in Ohio, almost 600 miles away. His mother was unemployed at the time and couldn’t afford the travel. Our volunteer pilot program was able to help, transporting Daniel and his mom to the care he needed.

Deliver Hope Daily

Because of donors like you, we are able to Deliver Hope Daily. To help more children, like Daniel,  please donate here.

jeremy and horse at lone survivor foundation retreat
Jeremy at a veteran’s retreat.

Jeremy traveled from San Antonio to Houston for a Lone Survivor Foundation retreat. He has PTSD and a traumatic brain injury (TBI). On the way back, he said he had an extremely positive experience, and that it was “very easy to set up.” When he returned to Houston, Jeremy expressed great satisfaction with Mercy Medical Angels and Angel Wings for Veterans. In Jeremy’s words: “The retreat was absolutely amazing. Every part of the process was great.”

 

To learn more about Lone Survivor Foundation, click here:

https://lonesurvivorfoundation.org/

 

 

margaret with doctors
Margaret and the doctors at MD Anderson.

Margaret is a cancer patient who lives in Michigan. MD Anderson in Texas is the only place that offers the treatment she needs. Mercy Medical Angels provides free transportation to MD Anderson for Margaret.

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