Seven years ago, local doctors told Kerri Smith there was nothing more they could do to treat her rare carcinoid cancer. “I cried all day,” recalls the 52-year-old grandmother from Memphis, Tennessee. Then she saw a commercial for Cancer Treatment Centers of America—more than 400 miles away in Tulsa, Oklahoma—and picked up the phone book to find an organization that might get her there.
The last place she called recommended Miracle Flights, the nation’s leading medical flight charity, which provides free plane tickets to families who need specialized medical care not available in their local communities. Miracle Flights would fly both Kerri and her husband to Tulsa for free, as many times as they needed to go. “It’s like the Lord put everything in place,” says Kerri.
This Sunday, July 12, they will board their 35th Miracle Flight to Tulsa. And in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic, the self-proclaimed “cancer fighter” is ready to go.
“The risk of not going is worse. The cancer could be spreading,” she says. “I’ve got the face mask Miracle Flights sent me, my hand sanitizer, my Lysol. I’m gonna pray about it and go on.”
Kerri’s milestone 35th flight coincides with another key date: Miracle Flights’ 35th anniversary.
“Kerri has been a meaningful part of our Miracle Flights family for many years now, so it’s fitting we share this special milestone on her medical journey,” says Miracle Flights CEO Mark E. Brown. “Our organization was founded in 1985 with a mission to provide patients like Kerri with the cure for distance and help alleviate one financial burden among the many they may face.”
Kerri’s treatment requires both chemotherapy and radiation every three months, along with several medications to keep her tumors at bay and to treat the long-term side-effects she suffers, which include diabetes, gastroparesis, high blood pressure and chronic vein disease.
“I have so many medicines, and with me not working, it would be impossible to get the treatment I need without Miracle Flights,” says Kerri. “I still have hope because of Miracle Flights.”
To help Kerri and other critically ill patients reach the life-changing medical care they need, or to request a Miracle Flight for your family, visit miracleflights.org.