MISSOULA — We’ve introduced you to Angel Flight West, which flies critically ill children and their families to hospitals states away.
Now, they’re joining forces with the Jadyn Fred Foundation, to help with funds for other travel expenses. And they want you to know.
Lynn Fred announced in April that Jadyn Fred reached their goal of spending $1 million, "we also helped over 1,000 families to receive this money,” he said.
Lynn Fred’s granddaughter, Jadyn Fred, died in 1996 of a rare pancreatic cancer, "she would be 26 years old if she was still alive."
Lynn now works for the Jadyn Fred Foundation, which gives money to sick Montana children for travel-related medical expenses.
“They’ve helped me a lot," said 17-year-old Mya Toone who is a senior at Big Sky High School. “I’m gonna go to college, I think in Portland.”
She also has a rare bone disease she describes as having bones like chalk.
After recently falling down the stairs, she’s left with a broken hip, and broken pelvis and scapula, and temporal bone.
She says she’s had too many broken bones to count. It's a part of her life she's become good at managing.
Mya says anywhere from once a month to every few months, she has appointments out of state.
“Going on expensive trips, and long trips, to Seattle and Spokane, and different places for my medical appointments," she observed.
Recently, Fred noticed the families spent a lot of the money, meant for things like lodging and food, just on flights to the hospitals.
“And it just seems like every year more children need help,” Fred said.
All this travel for medical services that aren't available in our state can add up.
That's why Jadyn Fred is teaming up with Angel Flight West, who will take care of the flights.
“Our goal is to get everybody to understand that they don’t need to use money for airfare, for travel, at all," Montana Wing Leader Michael Burks said. "We will get you there.”
For him, it’s about service, "it’s such an amazing feeling to be next to people who have no room in their life for anything but trying to keep their child or mother, brother, alive."
"It puts a reality in front of you that all this other stuff out here means nothing," Burks added.
Burks and Fred say the more people that know about this partnership, the more families will benefit.
Both organizations want to help take the financial burden off of families when they are dealing with a medical crisis.
“It just makes all of us feel well," Fred told MTN News.
In order to raise awareness of the resources, the foundations are doing a drawing contest at Fuel Fitness locations across the region.
Kids from second grade to eight years old are welcome to participate.
The winners will be picked in May and will get an hour-long scenic flight of their choosing with Burks.
The winner's drawings will also be printed on kid's shirts.