Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

Veteran and family in need.

Explorer C

I am Lisa, Ernie's wife. We have been faced with a family's worst nightmare.  In 2014, Ernie was diagnosed with a low-grade cancer in his ureter tube, it turned out to be a complicated surgery because the cancer was worse than was expected, long story short one surgery turned into two and a two week stay. He still had the same symptoms he always had. 

In 2015-2016, after many tests, bloodwork, & scans, watching and waiting, the washings were testing positive for cancer again. It was decided it was best to remove the left kidney December 2016. Another surgery that didn't go as planned, his bowel had been knicked in two places during surgery causing him to be septic and very sick. He was then rushed back to surgery for bowel reconstruction, surgery went well. A few days later, after making sure the surgery was successful they took him back into surgery to close up his incision and he aspirated and ended up on a vent in ICU, to make a long story short again so many things happened his heart was out of rhythm, he became delusional from meds and being in the hospital for a month. We finally came home and recovery began.

Life had finally normalized and we were all happy as always. Then here we go again, tests and labs revealed a small tumor in Ernie's bladder and the tumor was removed. His urologist suggested removing the bladder because of past associations with cancer and the report from the tumor came back as positive for a high-grade muscle-invasive cancer. His bladder was removed in December 2017. She also removed his lymph nodes on the right side but couldn't remove the ones on the left side because of the risk of bleeding. Everything removed came back positive with this high-grade urothelial carcinoma cancer. But this isn't all, even the lymph nodes that weren't removed are also involved with this cancer as well.

It's been a journey for sure but we aren't here for sorrow or pity because we are a strong family and have so much faith and trust in our God. We have asked no one for anything in the last 3 years except for your prayers but we've had so many that have gone further to touch and bless our hearts. We owe our parents for raising us right because we give more than we take. We would rather help someone else than have someone help us. We live a simple life, enjoy the little things, and never give up HOPE! We believe all things are possible through Christ!

We have so much to be thankful for! Ernie served our beautiful country for 20+ years in the United States Army.  All of our girls were saved and baptized in 2017.  Ernie and I, don't have any children between us but we have 3 little girls we adopted and was final December 12, 2017, he has 5 children from a previous marriage and I have 2. We still have one teenage daughter still living at home, who is a senior and is a tremendous help with the girls. And we have 7 beautiful grandchildren!

This is where we are today. Ernie's sisters got in contact with Cancer Centers of America and gave them some brief information about Ernie and our contact information. I called them and got the process going. Ernie talked to them and they prayed with him before the phone call ended. You don't know how much all of this has changed everything. The devil had really been trying to break us down but we fought hard against him and God is prevailing because we have stood strong! The devil wasn't just attacking Ernie, he was trying to attack me, too so I would give up. There were times that were so hard and trying but I fought and fought. It was Ernie sick, vehicles, the froze water, then busted pipes, propane tank, me sick, girls sick, etc. anything he could throw at me to try and break me down he tried. Being strong was all I had but praise God, all because of faith and trust in him...The storm is passing!

The next call came in, Ernie's insurance has been approved! They will pay for mine and his first flight there and back for his consultation in Chicago, IL next week but after that, they will only pay for his flights there and back when treatments start. I've never flown before so this will be an experience for me. I'm scared to death for so many reasons but if this will get my love better for us and our family...I tell myself I will just have to suck it up buttercup lol I will do whatever needs to be done to try and get him well again. We have so much to do together in this lifetime!

I've been on this journey with Ernie from the very beginning 3 years ago and I would love to be able to go to his treatments with him for moral support. I just can't stand the thoughts of putting him on a plane all by himself and sending him off alone to go through this alone.  I know this new journey that we will be facing will be expensive just for airfare alone for myself not to mention for lodging, food, and other expenses that we will face along the way.  I had no idea how much to even set the goal for so I just put in a number and we will just hope for the best.  I  don't have a clue how much any of this is going to take because over the last several years we've paid our own expenses up until now but I can tell you, we will be grateful from the bottom of our hearts for whatever we receive and it will be put to good use.

This is the hardest part but this is where we will need the most support from everyone. If you are able, please consider making a donation to help lighten the financial load and cover any extra expenses the months ahead may bring. Money aside, your love, support, and prayers are always at the top of the list and appreciated most of all.  

No one should have to fight cancer alone!

Can your company help fly them from the closest airport to them to Chicago when he goes in to start his process?


Re: Veteran and family in need.


Hi, @michelledbatson. My name is Tiffany and I'm on our Community Outreach team here at Southwest Airlines. I first wanted to say we are so sorry to hear about Ernie and wanted to thank him for his years of service as well as thank you for thinking of Southwest. 


From a charitable standpoint, Southwest provides direct support to various qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, particularly those that fall within our current areas of strategic focus: Families Facing Serious Illness, Military and their Families, Disaster Preparedness and Response, Community Resiliency and the Environment. Unfortunately, Southwest can't support individuals seeking assistance for personal travel, but wanted to guide you towards our Medical Transportation Grant Program. 


Through the Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program (MTGP) we provide complimentary, roundtrip tickets to nonprofit hospitals and medical transportation organizations. Southwest allows participating nonprofit hospitals and medical transportation nonprofit organizations the freedom to determine how to distribute the tickets to patients and/or caregivers.


You mentioned he will be receiving treatment in Chicago and the following hospitals are part of MTGP. 


Best of luck to you and Ernie, our hearts are with you both!


External Communications
Southwest Airlines Community