The nation’s leading medical flight charity Miracle Flights today announced a record 8,618 free flights provided in its fiscal year ending April 30, 2019, up nearly 4 percent from last year’s previous record of 8,299 flights.
The Las Vegas–based national nonprofit coordinates approximately 700 flights each month through commercial airline carriers to help critically ill children reach life-changing medical care far from home. Since its founding in 1985, Miracle Flights has provided 125,181 flights free of charge to families facing medical crises, covering more than 70 million nautical miles.
Top medical reasons for which Miracle Flights were requested last year include musculoskeletal disorders such as clubfoot and a rare joint condition called arthrogryposis. Epilepsy, spina bifida, cerebral palsy and other neurological conditions ranked second, followed by gastrointestinal disorders, cancers, heart and lung disease, developmental delays, dermatological conditions, immune system disorders, life-threatening food allergies and other medical conditions too rare or advanced to be treated locally.
“It’s not often we fly a child only once. Most of the children we fly have complex medical needs that require multiple flights for ongoing treatment. That’s why the service Miracle Flights provides is so meaningful,” says Miracle Flights CEO Mark E. Brown. “The cost of travel can become an impossible financial burden for any family that needs to fly their child several times a year for treatment and is already staring down a stack of medical bills.”
One such family is that of eight-year-old Rykien from Utah. Born with both clubfoot and arthrogryposis, Rykien has been flying with Miracle Flights for six years. He and his parents recently received their 25th Miracle Flight for treatment at Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia.
“Rykien has undergone so many surgical procedures, serial casting for his clubfeet, casting on his arms and wrists and countless hours of therapy. He is finally able to walk without an assistive device and is making so much progress,” says Rykien’s mother, Amber. “He would not be where he is today without the care from his doctors and the help of Miracle Flights making travel so much more financially tolerable.”
Miracle Flights provided air travel to 185 medical facilities in 35 states last year. St. Louis Children’s Hospital ranked first as the most frequently requested destination, followed by Boston Children’s Hospital; Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio; Cincinnati Children’s Hospital; and Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia.
Miracle Flights provides free medical air transportation to children and adults via commercial airlines throughout the United States. With over three decades of service to families in need, Miracle Flights has coordinated more than 125,000 flights and counting. For more information about Miracle Flights, to request flight assistance, or to make a donation, call 800-359-1711 or visit www.miracleflights.org