Flight Log

Resources and Stories from Angel Flight West.

Helping to Relieve Pain for a Terminal Teen

Mya is a very busy sixteen-and-a-half-year-old teenager who attends public school and volunteers for a myriad of children’s programs. She won student of the year, and yet she told her mom Carly, “I just want to be a normal kid.”
Mya was born with brittle bone disease, a condition that causes continuous fractures mostly in her femurs and hips, producing ongoing pain. She’s had surgeries to alleviate the pain, but her disease is terminal and she is on palliative care.


AFW is able to lessen the pain
of travel for Mya who suffers from brittle bone disease and car travel is painful.

When she was younger, Carly would drive 50-60 trips by car from Missoula to Spokane, hoping the medical staff could find a way to help her daughter. She didn’t seem to find any answers there. She drove from Missoula to Salt Lake City where the medical team there was also unsure of how to help her. These car trips were hard on Mya’s body. In addition, the driving and medical care were draining Carly’s family financially. Finally, she was able to get help at Seattle Children’s Hospital and at Bellevue in pain management, but the drive wasn’t working.

After some research, Carly found AFW. She says, “Angel Flight has given me a chance to live with my daughter again. I still worry, but it’s really made it so much easier.” AFW pilot Michael Burks flies Mya frequently, and Carly says that “ he is amazing…he treats us like family,” and told her that he will be there to help in any way he can.

Meanwhile as Mya has grown, she developed thoracic outlet syndrome, and scoliosis, and her spine is now pushing into her brain stem. In addition, she now has sleep apnea and 50% lung function. Despite the endless pain and worsening physical complications, her mom says, “Mya never complains, talks about her terminal illness, or shows any weakness. She’s very smart and kind and just pushes through everything. When we’re in the plane,” Carly continues, “it gives me a chance to breathe, not cry all the time, and relax for a little while because Mya is not in pain. It seems like so little, but it’s really so big.” Carly adds, “Many who know Mya say that she is the definition of courage and compassion.” Both Mya and Carly are an example for us all.

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