LEESBURG, Fla. — Mercy Flight Southeast has launched its annual fundraising campaign.
The organization coordinates approximately 3,000 flights a year for children and adults who need medical treatment far from home using a network of about 600 volunteer pilots.
While the volunteer pilots provide the aircraft and fuel for the flights, Mercy Flight Southeast must pay for associated fees, officials note.. The 2014 Annual Fund Campaign will help underwrite those costs.
“Mercy Flight Southeast is a proud recipient of the Independent Charities of American Seal of Approval,” said Steve Purello, CEO of Mercy Flight Southeast. “We keep a sharp eye on expenses and best practices so that we are able to manage costs to the point that every $100 donation gives the gift of one flight.”
Mercy Flight Southeast has benefited many families, including the Bradbarys of Key West Florida. Three-year-old Tiberius was diagnosed with B-cell Lymphoma in the summer of 2013. Doctors at Miami Children’s Hospital ordered weekly chemotherapy treatments to beat the cancer which targets immune cells in the body.
“The prospect of a weekly four hour drive, each way, with a miserable toddler in the back seat was horrible,” said the father, Landon. “We contacted Mercy Flight Southeast and found our “Mercy in the air” in pilot Fouad “Sam” Samaha who signed up to take us for every treatment over the course of two months. It was such a relief.”
Tiberius is now an energetic 4-year-old who is cancer free.
Information about making a donation, becoming a volunteer or a Mercy Flight Southeast passenger recipient can be found at MercyFlightSE.org/2014 or by calling 352-326-0761.