Wayne: From Surviving To Thriving

Wayne: From Surviving To Thriving Mercy Medical Angels

Just Surviving

Wayne is a veteran who lives in El Paso, Texas. His experiences in combat led to PTS. Life was getting difficult for him. It was a matter of just surviving day to day.

“Traditional therapies didn’t help me very much,” said Wayne. He wanted to be thriving, not merely surviving. He began to look for alternatives.

Help Needed…

That was when Wayne discovered a healing retreat for veterans. “Their methodologies are different,” said Wayne, “I’d never seen some of them before.”

However, the retreat facility was in Houston, almost 700 miles away. Wayne couldn’t afford the airfare. Driving for more than ten hours wasn’t a good option either

He needed help getting to the retreat facility.

…and Help Received

Luckily for Wayne, Mercy Medical Angels and Southwest Airlines were able to help. Mercy Medical Angels arranged flights, and Southwest helped pay for the trip.

“I couldn’t have been able to go if it weren’t for Mercy Medical Angels and Southwest Airlines,” said Wayne. He adds, “The flight was great.”

Furthermore, the flight assistance helped him maintain financial stability. This meant he could focus on the retreat and the healing it provided.

Going from Surviving to Thriving

Wayne described his experience at the veterans’ retreat as “education and enlightening.” He also said, “The different methodologies are helping.” Thanks to the retreat – and the flight assistance – he’s maintaining physical and mental wellness.

When asked what he would say to potential donors, Wayne’s voice halts from the overwhelming emotion.

“It’s pretty significant – the statistics on PTS and veterans committing suicide because of it. Mercy Medical Angels and Southwest Airlines – keep people alive. Your donation can do the same – keeping people alive.”

When a veteran like Wayne lives with PTS, surviving can be a day-to-day struggle. But thanks to Mercy Medical Angels and Southwest Airlines, they have a chance at healing and hope. They can increase their quality of life, and go from surviving to thriving.

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Foxtrot’s Night Before Christmas

Foxtrot’s Night Before Christmas Mercy Medical Angels


“ ‘Twas the night before Christmas,” the old poem regales,
But our mascot, Foxtrot, has different tales.

The airport was busy, families came together
Despite the dark night and the icy cold weather.

Other dogs were at home, curled up in their beds
While visions of playtime danced in their heads.

But not Foxtrot; our mascot was sniffing about
He was on a mission to find something out.

Then from Runway B, there arose such a clatter
Foxtrot just had to see what was the matter.

Foxtrot tracked the noise, and ran even faster
Hoping that it didn’t signal disaster.

All of a sudden, he heard a new sound:
A team in distress, falling to the ground.

That’s when he realized he had to act quick
Because the commotion had come from St. Nick!

“Santa,” called Foxtrot, “calm your reindeer!”
But poor Santa panicked – he couldn’t hear.

“Whoa, Dasher! Whoa, Dancer! Whoa, Prancer and Vixen!
Whoa, Comet! Whoa, Cupid! Whoa, Donner and Blitzen!”

“Please, reindeer, calm down! We’re going to fall!
Calm down, please! Calm down, all!”

Foxtrot took off his scarf, the fabric was bright
And waved it, guiding the sleigh through the night.

Santa managed to land, under great stress
The reindeer still acted a nervous mess.

That’s when Foxtrot wondered, “What happened up there?”
Santa sighed in reply, “The reindeer were scared.”

Santa added, “People don’t care anymore
Too focused on settling their own petty scores.”

The sad sentence from Santa made Foxtrot cry.
“I care,” said Foxtrot, “do you want to know why?”

With those words, light bathed the reindeer team
Then, dimming like embers, they lost the gleam.

Foxtrot got an idea, and it gave Santa cheer:
“If care works for me, it should work for reindeer!”

“Well then, Foxtrot,” said Santa, “I know that you care.
What led you to that? Please tell me your share.”

Foxtrot thought for a good long while
Hoping his words would bring back the smile.

“Children whose illnesses leave them in tears
I go on their flights and relieve their fears.”

“Veterans who live with unseen scars
Dogs like me open doors, help them reach for the stars.”

“Cancer patients fighting so hard to live
The gift of life is the best one to give.”

A wonder occured: the more Foxtrot told
The more Santa’s reindeer stood tall, proud, and bold!

Sure enough, Santa’s broad smile came back
Foxtrot patted each reindeer, and adjusted their tack.

“Thank you, Foxtrot, now we’ll be on our way!
You’ve made a difference, and saved the holiday.”

“You’re welcome, Santa! Safe travels up there!”
Starlight on sleigh bells, they took to the air.

But Foxtrot heard kind words, from Santa in flight:
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

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Maya: Beating the Odds

Maya: Beating the Odds Mercy Medical Angels

Maya is beating the odds!

Neuroblastoma Struggles

Maya was only 5 months old when she was diagnosed with Stage IV neuroblastoma.The doctors managed to get the cancer into remission. But just before her second birthday, she suffered a relapse. Since then, she’s been in and out of aggressive treatment for neuroblastoma. Her risk for another relapse or developing a secondary cancer is very high, because of all the radiation treatments. Because of this risk, she has to travel to New York for continued monitoring and treatment.

“Sometimes we had to travel as often as every two weeks, or monthly,” said Amber, who is Maya’s mother. “We have been traveling for nearly ten years. Even though she only needs to go a few times a year now, it has become extremely difficult for us to pay for travel.”

Odds Are Difficult With Neuroblastoma…

Aside from being in and out of the hospital, Maya’s family doesn’t have the resources to pay for repeated flights to New York. Worse, Maya and her family lives in California – almost 2,500 miles away from the treatment center. But the long-distance travel to treatment is saving her life, and preventing further problems.

Maya’s life was hanging in the balance. The odds were difficult enough without the added burden of traveling to treatment. Her family was running out of resources – and worse, running out of time.

…But Not Impossible

That’s when Mercy Medical Angels and Hogan Foundation stepped in. Mercy Medical Angels arranged travel from Maya’s home in California to to New York, while Hogan Foundation paid for the tickets.

“They really saved money we didn’t have,” said Amber. “Providing us with flights covered the financial costs of transportation to Maya’s cancer treatment.” She adds, “We are so appreciative.”

“A Special Group of Angels”

Now, Maya is 12 years old and doing much better. She will need help getting to her treatments for neuroblastoma in the future. Mercy Medical Angels and Hogan Foundation will continue to help her get there.

Amber has a message to potential donors: “If someone asked me whether they should give to Mercy Medical Angels, I would tell them they absolutely should!” She adds, “I would tell our story and explain how we wouldn’t be able to continue treatment without them.”

“They’re an amazing organization… what a special group of angels!”

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Tabitha: Healing From the Heart

Tabitha: Healing From the Heart Mercy Medical Angels

Flights For Her Heart

Tabitha has flown with the volunteer pilot program of Mercy Medical Angels for a few years. She has a number of rare diseases, some of which affect her heart. Because she can’t find treatment near her home in the Outer Banks, she has to fly to Cleveland Clinic. Luckily, the volunteer pilots are always there to help her.

“They go above and beyond,” said Tabitha, “and I’m so grateful. They did great.”

New Challenges…

Recently, Tabitha had to fly back to Cleveland Clinic because one of the artificial heart valves calcified. She needs to have it replaced. This will require surgery on her heart.

A scan also found lesions in her neck, which could be cancerous. Tabitha has to make another flight to Cleveland Clinic to find out the next steps.

On top of all this, a connective tissue disorder is causing her to live in pain. “But the heart was the worst pain.” said Tabitha.

…and New Beginnings

But it’s not all darkness in Tabitha’s life. Sunbeams of hope are peeking through the clouds of illness, sending light to her heart. She recently welcomed more grandkids to the family. As her family grows, she tries to keep in touch with as many as she can.

Tabitha said, “Ever since surgery, I try to make a memory.” For example, her daughter used to be terrified of flying. Tabitha planned a birthday surprise – an airplane ride! The two of them had a lot of fun, and it was a birthday to remember.

One of Tabitha’s grandchildren is starting high school. He helped her out over the summer, and introduced her to his friends. “All of his friends call me grandma,” said Tabitha. In return, she’s teaching him the basics of driving.

Straight From The Heart

If someone asked Tabitha about donating to Mercy Medical Angels, she has an answer ready. “Even if you never meet them, you’ve probably saved someone’s life. You’ve extended a family’s time and memories. You may need the help someday.”

Tabitha adds, “You can see who you helped on Twitter and other social media. So you know where the donation’s going. If you’re thinking of giving, give to Mercy Medical Angels.”

Despite all her challenges, Tabitha remains optimistic. She says, “Everything’s a blessing.” Thanks to the people who support Mercy Medical Angels, patients like Tabitha can follow their hearts to healing.

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