Dealing with a disease or medical condition is challenging and stressful. Getting the care you or your loved one needs isn’t easy. Necessary medical appointments and treatments are often far away from home. How do patients get there, and how do they afford the travel costs? They shouldn’t worry about these things when trying to focus on their health.
That’s where volunteer pilots and organizations like LifeLine Pilots come in. Volunteering to provide free medical and humanitarian travel removes the financial and distance barriers that prevent people from getting the care they need. These services are especially critical for rural Americans and people who can’t afford to travel to medical facilities far from home.
For example, rural residents comprise nearly 20% of the US population. Those living in rural locations often have a greater distance to travel to a specialty care clinic, VA hospital, or cancer center than their urban counterparts.
Although many rural areas have transportation services to help patients access the healthcare they need locally, a long road trip can be extremely uncomfortable and expensive, and commercial flights can be cost-prohibitive. As a result, rural residents often forego medical treatment from these locations due to unreliable transportation, weather, and finances. However, doing so can significantly impact one’s health, safety, and quality of life.
The Generosity of Pilots and Donors Change Lives
Volunteer pilots provide free transportation for people needing critical medical treatment unavailable locally. For example, a patient with a medical condition might be better served by a hospital or facility hundreds of miles away but lack the resources to get there, especially if they require treatment on an ongoing basis like chemotherapy or dialysis.
They also provide humanitarian flights. These flights include flying people to be with dying or terminally ill loved ones. They may also include providing air transportation for parents to visit their sick children while staying at a Ronald McDonald House. In addition, they work with refugee organizations and offer relocation services for survivors of domestic abuse or human trafficking.
How It Works
Each year, LifeLine Pilots coordinates free air transportation, through volunteer pilots, for people with non-emergency medical or humanitarian needs far from home. The organization was founded on the principle that everyone, regardless of income or location, should have access to quality healthcare.
Serving the Midwest, LifeLine’s volunteer pilots complete hundreds of missions each year, bringing patients to and from lifesaving medical care. They donate their time and expertise and the use of their aircraft and accept all of the expenses necessary to ensure that the sick are able to acquire the treatments they need, regardless of the distance from home.
There is never a charge for services. However, passengers must meet certain qualifications and submit a flight request form. Flights usually originate from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. However, when passenger needs fall outside the service area, LifeLine Pilots will work with other volunteer pilot organizations to serve you.
It’s not unusual for people with medical needs to undergo multiple treatments. Often this requires more than one trip to a medical facility. Fortunately, there’s no limit to the number of flights a person or an accompanying family member or caregiver can take.
Help Us Ensure Everyone Can Access Medical Care
LifeLine Pilots receives no government funding. Instead, volunteer pilots support LifeLine Pilots by giving millions in donated flight time and planes ($1.6 million last year alone!). In addition, the generosity of individuals, businesses, and foundations fund the coordination of every flight. There are so many ways you can help. Your cash or crypto contribution, donations from shopping at AmazonSmile, or even your time as a volunteer can ensure that a person gets the healthcare they need.