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Southwest Airlines and a Special Journey For John

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Southwest Airlines relies on a dedicated group of local Employees in every city we serve who evaluate and respond to each request for a charitable donation that comes from the community. These “Local Giving Boards” allow local Employees to decide how Southwest can be the hometown carrier when it comes to charitable giving in their communities.  Southwest Airlines focuses our resources primarily on five areas of charitable giving: the Military and it Families, Families Facing Serious Illness, Youth Leadership and Community Involvement, the Environment, and Disaster Preparedness and Response. To celebrate the season of giving, this week we’ll highlight some of our memorable stories from 2010 in each one of these categories.

You probably wouldn’t know it by looking at him, but John, a father of three and husband to Lynn, is battling cancer. Take the stresses of everyday life: getting the kids to school on time, paying the bills, keeping the family generally happy and healthy. Then, top that with cancer. Now you’re in John’s world.

It’s not hard to imagine that these circumstances could quickly feel overwhelming. All of a sudden, you’d be a fighter in a battle that you were never prepared for.  Unfortunately, John’s story is not uncommon. Hundreds of thousands of Americans battle a serious illness every day.  Southwest Airlines is committed to families facing serious illness. That’s why we provide complimentary travel to nonprofit organizations like For Pete’s Sake which aims to strengthen the hearts, minds, and souls of these courageous individuals as they battle the psychological, emotional, economic, and spiritual trauma that accompanies a cancer diagnosis.

For Pete’s Sake sent John and his family to Disney World in Orlando for an entire week. It was John and Lynn’s first flight since they had children and it was their children’s very first flight. Southwest was proud to have a small part in this special vacation. They spent their days laughing and playing.

“We did not have to WORRY about life, but instead, enjoy it!” John said.

It is stories like John’s that remind us that travel is not always just for times when you “wanna get away;” sometimes it is for times when you have to get away. Whether it is for necessary medical treatment or for a time of rejuvenation with your family, Southwest is here to share that journey with these courageous families.

For more information on For Pete’s Sake, visit www.crossingthefinishline.org. To learn about Southwest Airline’s Medical Transportation Grant Program and its ongoing commitment to families facing serious illness, visit southwest.com/cares.  And to see more of John’s Journey, please click here.

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