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Wings for Life

Resources for Medical Air Travel

 

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For cancer survivors, distant travel is sometimes necessary to reach a cancer center or hospital for treat­ment or a second opinion that is not available in their local communities. Various air transport organizations pro­vide free or reduced-cost flights to assist people who need help. The earlier you make your need known, the more likely you are to get help. The following is a partial listing of organizations that pro­vide or coordinate flights for cancer survivors and their families.

Air Care Alliance is a nationwide league of humanitarian flying organizations whose volunteer pilots are dedicated to community service. It provides a central listing of free national and regional air transportation services provided by vol­unteer pilots and charitable aviation groups who perform public benefit fly­ing for healthcare, patient transport, and other missions of public service. Visit AirCareAlliance.org to find an organization near you or to complete an online form. If you need further assis­tance, contact mail@aircarealliance.org or call (888) 260-9707.

Air Charity Network is a national net­work of regional charitable aviation organizations that provides access for people in need seeking free air transpor­tation to specialized healthcare facilities. To locate the Air Charity Network or­ganization that serves your area, call (877) 621-7177 or click on one of the regional links at AirCharityNetwork.org/contact-us. You will automatically be directed to the nearest available resource.

Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition is a coalition of organizations helping cancer survivors manage their financial challenges. Its website includes a sec­tion on transportation assistance listed by cancer type or by regional organi­zations according to zip code. Visit CancerFAC.org for links.

Children’s Flight of Hope provides free air transportation to and from medical treatment for seriously ill and injured children. These flights are provided through paid commercial airline tickets for the child and one companion, or through private charter flights. Children’s Flight of Hope contacts the commercial airlines and airport security to make the flight logistics as seamless as possible. On private flights, a Family Flight Liaison offers nonmedical support to the fam­ily and the pilot as needed. Submit an online request or call the mission request line at (919) 460-4334. For further information, call (919) 466-8593 or visit ChildrensFlightOfHope.org.

Corporate Angel Network arranges free travel, using the empty seats on corporate jets, for people with cancer, bone marrow donors, and bone mar­row recipients who are ambulatory and not in need of medical support while traveling to or from an approved cancer treatment center. Eligibility is not based on financial need, and recipients may travel as often as necessary. If seats are available, you may bring an adult companion; children can travel with two adults. Call (914) 328-1313 or contact info&corpangelnetwork.org to register within three weeks of a specific appointment. For more infor­mation, visit CorpAngelNetwork.org.

Footprints in the Sky provides free flights to medical facilities throughout the U.S., using mainly donated charter and corporate jets, for people without the financial capability and resources to facilitate air travel. To fill out flight request forms, or for more information, visit FootprintsFlights.org or call (303) 799-0461.

Miracle Flights flies low-income chil­dren who are struggling with serious illness to specialized medical treatment centers or for second opinions from experts and specialists across the U.S. Qualifying families can receive travel assistance for the child and up to two parents or legal guardians. For more information, call (800) 359-1711 or visit MiracleFlights.org.

National Patient Travel Center provides information about all forms of charitable, long-distance, medically-related transportation and provides referrals to appropriate sources of help in the national charitable medical trans­portation network. For more information, visit PatientTravel.org. To request assis­tance, call the National Patient Travel Helpline at (800) 296-1217.

Patient AirLift Services is a network of volunteer pilots that provides free med­ical flights and air transportation services to qualifying people in need. Apply for assistance online by filling out a request form at PALServices.org, or calling (888) 818-1231. For more information, contact info@PALServices.org.

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Contact each organization to obtain specific eligibility requirements. In addition, check with your local cancer treatment center, hos­pital, or cancer support organizations, as well as commercial airlines, for information about obtaining transportation assistance for can­cer survivors and their families. This listing was compiled by Coping’s editors and may not include all air transportation providers or coordinators.

This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, September/October 2016.