On June 22, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport saw a VIP go through their gates. “Little Levi” Krystosek, 10, kicked off his tour from New Orleans to Philadelphia with Miracle Flights and Southwest Airlines to receive medical consultation for his rare form of dwarfism.
Levi has a condition that prevents his bones from strengthening enough to support his weight as he grows, but from his zest for life you would have no idea. As one of only 22 confirmed cases in the world, Levi and his mother travel throughout the country for medical monitoring and treatment. This constant travel can really take a toll on families like Levi’s, but luckily through Southwest Airlines’ Medical Transportation Grant Program and partners like Miracle Flights, the financial burden of traveling great distances to receive medical treatment is considerably eased.
Miracle Flights has participated in Southwest’s Medical Transportation Grant Program since its inception in 2007, but worked with Southwest long before the program began. In fact, Miracle Flights has provided complimentary commercial air travel to seriously ill patients so they can visit specialists and receive treatment throughout the country since 1985. Levi’s flight was selected to be the 100,000thMiracle flight and, as their longtime partner, Southwest was especially excited to participate in making his trip extra special in honor of his spirit and this incredible milestone.
Arriving at the gate in a pilot’s uniform, Levi was treated like the rock star he is as he kicked off his “tour.” Celebration participants wore customized shirts titled, “Little Levi and the 100,000 Miracles.” At the gate in New Orleans, Levi was given the VIP treatment featuring a live band, treats for the passengers, a red carpet, posters and tour memorabilia. Additionally, the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport said farewell to Levi with a water cannon salute as the aircraft left the gate. A very special thank you to our amazing Employees in MSY and Customers for making this event one to remember!
Since the Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program’s inception in 2007, more than $19.6 million in complimentary air travel has been distributed to organizations in 26 states. In 2016, Southwest will provide more than $3.2 million in free transportation to caregivers and patients seeking medical treatment. A full list of participating nonprofit hospitals and medical transportation organizations can be found atwww.southwest.com/medicalgrant.