Thanks to you, families dealing with long-term illness can continue receiving medical care far from home for as long as needed.
Having a child born with a serious disease would challenge whatever emotional, physical, financial and spiritual allotment any parent has. But, when you have two such children, it would seem like a Herculean task just to get through a day.
Mom May with son and passenger Zaid who has been flying with AFW for 11 years for treatment of a life-threatening genetic skin disorder. (This mission was flown prior to COVID.)
May and Sam, parents of AFW passenger 17-year-old Zaid, have been caring for their two sons born with epidermolysis bullosa, an inherited disorder where their fragile skin is susceptible to widespread blistering and that can lead to many other major medical problems. There oldest son, Deep, passed away four years ago from the same disorder.
AFW has been flying Zaid for 11 years. He flies to Stanford for many ongoing appointments. At first, the family would leave Visalia, CA at 3 a.m. for a 9 o’clock appointment, a nine-hour roundtrip drive. Then, a clinical coordinator at Stanford Hospital told her about AFW. Their travel time is now around one hour and twenty minutes. May says how AFW “has made a huge difference in our lives.”
May and Zaid are not the only ones who benefit from these flights. Pilot Pete Bernadin, who has flown the boys often, says, “It takes me about a week to come down from the euphoria of these flights.”
Zaid’s hands have lost some fingers and some are webbed as a result of the disorder, but he has learned how to type proficiently on a computer. He attends regular school with the help of an aide. May says, “He is so independent and so smart and so stubborn.” His grades are high and “he wants to be an engineer.”
Zaid sometimes worries that what happened to his brother will happen to him. May encourages him. “I tell him that they are raising millions in research and not everyone is the same. I say, try and enjoy your life even though it’s hard.”