Thanks to you, stress from long car trips is reduced – another barrier to receiving health care.
Command Pilot Frederick Klarmeyer taking a selfie with Ronald L., Ron’s wife Janelle, and their fluffy companion flying from Boise, ID to Seattle, WA for care of Ronald’s liver cancer.
Ron L. had gone to his doctor for a routine check-up. When his doctor asked if there were any issues, Ron mentioned that he felt a little uncomfortable in his stomach. A CT scan and biopsy later revealed Stage 4 liver cancer and a prognosis of one year. This was February 2020. As Jehovah’s Witnesses, Ron and his wife Janelle searched for an oncologist that believed in “bloodless surgery.” Their belief that blood is one’s sacred life force began their search for a doctor who could offer them treatment using alternatives to blood transfusions and minimize blood loss.
One of the first doctors they saw in their home state of Idaho gave Ron the grave prognosis of one year, and another refused to agree to take him as a patient. By March, they found Dr. Chen at Seattle Integrative Cancer Center who told them that he could help Ron without using transfusions. Ron’s wife Janelle says, “Ron’s cancer is rare and to find a doctor with experience with his kind of cancer was not easy. Dr. Chen had something to offer besides just saying ‘get your affairs in order.’” His treatment is non-traditional. Ron began a 25-week treatment of vitamin infusions to help his immune system get healthier and help the chemotherapy cocktail work better.
Janelle says, “We knew traveling to Seattle would be rigorous.” They had already driven a nine-hour drive a few times to see Dr. Chen, who told them about AFW.
In the first few weeks of treatment, Janelle says, “we were away from home a lot.” They would stay with friends in Tacoma, but when AFW began their flights, Ron says, “It’s been a blessing. I don’t know if I could continue to drive back and forth. Now I just try to sleep on the plane. They are a godsend.”
Ron and Janelle seem to be taking it one day at a time. He says that “with my kind of cancer, all we can do is to provide stasis at this point.” Angel Flight West will be there for them as often and as long as they need.
Beautiful sunset before passenger Ron, his wife Janelle, and Command Pilot Sven Freitag fly home to Idaho from Seattle Integrative Cancer Center in Renton, WA.