As you may recall, Rachel attended college in England. Studying abroad with MG was a challenge. What we did not stop to consider at the time of her departure was the impact that the long flight would have on her. When she arrived at her destination she was exhausted, and as many of you know, exhaustion can aggravate MG symptoms. We quickly realized that traveling coach from NY to London was somewhat of a hardship.
Immediately, I sprung into action to try to make the long flight easier for Rachel. The solution came to us from a dear friend who allowed us to use her Delta Airlines Friends and Family Pass to purchase business class tickets. Business Class made for more comfortable flights where Rachel could actually sleep and get the rest that she needed so as to not aggravate her MG symptoms while traveling back and forth to college.
This ordeal made me stop and think that Rachel was not the only MG patient flying form place to place encountering the problem of fatigue. This realization caused me to try to find a solution. To be completely honest, I have not solved the entire problem. I am still hoping to reach the right person with the authority to provide priority seating for our teens with MG on any commercial flight.
This quest lead me to a fabulous organization made up of compassionate and generous people who take great care in transporting patients with acute or chronic illnesses to and from their destination for treatment.
Allow me to introduce you to PALS.
PALS is the acronym for “Patient Airlift Services,” which is a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt public charity that arranges FREE air transportation for individuals requiring critical, life-saving medical care and for other humanitarian purposes.
PALS provides pilots and small general aviation planes to allow patients who are suffering from an acute or chronic illness, and have financial limitations, or find it infeasible to use public, commercial or private charter transportation, to receive treatment or care. One major qualification is that each patient must be medically stable as verified by a Medical Release Form completed by their physician. The determination of the ability for the patient to travel in a general aviation aircraft is entirely up to the patient and their physician. The patient must be able to enter and exit the aircraft on his or her own.
PALS is not an air ambulance service.
PALS pilots are licensed, highly skilled and thoroughly credentialed by the PALS Board, exceeding standards set forth by the FAA for volunteer pilots.
Their pilots own and operate a wide range of general aviation aircraft. These are not your standard jumbo jets. Most of the planes are not pressurized and seat four to six persons. Some aircraft are “high-wing” planes that require a step up into the aircraft. Because these are small planes which are owned and operated by private pilots they typically fly in and out of small airports that are located near larger metropolitan airports. Transportation to and from the airport must be arranged by the patient.
PALS makes every effort to get the patients to their destinations on time, however, a flight may be cancelled due to weather conditions. The patient must be able to reschedule or cancel their appointment in the case of inclement weather.
PALS generously agreed to partner with us and this partnership is important to The Rachel Esther Myasthenia Gravis Foundation because together we can insure that our teenagers meeting the qualifications of PALS have one less obstacle in getting the care they need to stabilize their MG. We owe them our sincerest debt of gratitude.
For more information on the services that PALS provides please contact us at 347-488-0018 or visit the Patient Airlift Services website.