On Tuesday, June 20, the Liggett family will travel to Phoenix for their son AJ’s weekly medical appointment. This week, AJ will arrive in Phoenix via airplane. Travel time for AJ, his mom and his caregiver will be reduced to approximately one hour each way, as opposed to their usual six hour round trip. AJ, who uses a ventilator to help him breathe, will experience greater comfort. His mom Alexis will have more time and energy for both of her children that evening, as her trip will be less arduous. The cost for the family to travel there – free.
For the Liggett Family, this life altering medical transportation change is made possible by Angel Flight West, a nonprofit organization that connects volunteer pilots with patients to fly them to medical appointments at no cost to the passengers. Angel Flight West and YRMC’s Pediatric Patients with Chronic Health Needs Committee collaborated to identify the Liggett family as one of this year’s first recipients of Yuma-based flights. Their hope is to bring awareness, so more local families who travel for medical care can utilize Angel Flight West’s services.
“Our organization faces a major barrier when attempting to forge new partnerships simply because many healthcare organizations think our services are just too good to be true,” said Alan Underwood, Command Pilot and Arizona Outreach Coordinator with Angel Flight West. “Right now we are operating at about five-10 percent capacity in Arizona, so there’s potential to help so many more families across the state. We are thrilled to have formed a partnership with YRMC and hope to help more families, like the Liggetts, as we spread awareness in the Yuma community.”
YRMC’s Pediatric Patients with Chronic Health Needs Committee was formed two years ago. The goal of the committee is to identify ways to improve medical care and processes, easing the burden for our area’s younger patients with chronic diseases. The committee is comprised of YRMC caregivers and community members with loved ones who are living with or who have passed away from chronic medical conditions.
“There are so many wonderful projects and initiatives – including this partnership – that have come to fruition because of this dedicated committee,” says Machele Headington, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at YRMC. “Our goal as an organization and as a community is to provide coordinated care for our patients, including care inside and outside of our medical system. We are grateful for the volunteers at Angel Flight West who share in our commitment to caring for our community.”
Due to medical complications at birth, the Liggett’s son AJ requires important, regular medical appointments in Phoenix. Travel is both difficult and time consuming for the Liggett family, who also have an 8 year old daughter and run a local electrical business.
“This incredible service allows us to spend so much less time on the road,” said Alexis Liggett. “For us, that means more time to be together as a family. Instead of AJ being stuck in a car seat four extra hours, he gets to spend that time playing with his sister and cousin at home. This adds to not only his quality of life, but ours as well. We can’t thank Angel Flight West enough for providing this service to so many families and YRMC for making this connection. Two absolutely wonderful organizations doing amazing things.”
For more information on Angel Flight West or to request a flight, visit www.angelflightwest.org/need-a-flight/. In addition to connecting with potential patients, Angel Flight West is hoping to connect with Yuma-area pilots who are interested in donating their time and cost of a flight to patients in need. More information can be found at www.angelflightwest.org/pilot-page/.