As program manager of the Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program, I am humbled by the opportunity to offer complimentary airfare to medical patients who need to travel for treatment. Over the past five years since we first started the program, I’ve noticed that our Medical Transportation Grant Program offers so much more than travel —it offers hope, relief, compassion, and a lighter burden for families.
More than 27,000 patients’ lives have been positively impacted through this unique program, and each of these patients has a story to share. Below, you’ll get a glimpse into the lives that have been changed through this special program:
“I knew I couldn’t afford frequent travel to Barnes-Jewish hospital in St. Louis to get the treatment I needed. I can’t begin to explain how grateful my family and I are for Southwest Airline’s Medical Transportation Grant Program—everything is better.”-Barnes-Jewish patient “Thank you, thank you, thank you. You have no idea how helpful this is. This [program] offers my son hope and a chance of living. I wasn’t sure financially how I was going to do this. You have just lifted a heavy burden. Thanks just aren’t enough. You all are blessed.” –Self-employed grant recipient “Without the assistance from the Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program, I would be unable to receive the quality of care for my upcoming surgery at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. This assistance has been a tremendous relief for me and my family.” – Cancer patientSouthwest is now accepting applications from hospitals and medical transportation charities to participate in the 2014 program. Nonprofit hospitals and medical transportation organizations can apply online by visiting southwest.com/medicalgrant now through September 30. We’re in the business of changing lives, and over the next few weeks we’ll share more heartwarming stories where we’ve had the privilege of making a positive difference.
We wanted to introduce you to one more special girl, Ann Louise –her mom, Mary Beth, reached out to us to share her thanks and some great photos of Ann Louise traveling for her medical treatment:
"Boston Children's Hospital was the only place performing Fetal Heart Surgery. It is crucial we travel to Boston in order to maintain Ann Louise's medical care as these doctors know how to care for fetal heart children, like Ann Louise. Thanks to Southwest Airlines and Miracle Flights for Kids, they have closed the financial and geographical gap between our home and the care Ann Louise needs."
The Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program was created in response to a need that was repeatedly expressed to the airline—families facing serious illnesses need to travel for treatment. When the Medical Transportation Grant Program began in 2008, Southwest donated 1,700 tickets to 13 hospitals and organizations. What started as a small effort to make a difference has grown into a nationwide movement, benefiting thousands of individuals and hundreds of communities. Since the program’s inception, Southwest has donated more than $10 million in free travel. Today, we now support more than 90 hospitals and organizations nationwide for patients seeking medical treatment.