Four years ago, Kaylie was born with Type 1 Citrullinemia, a rare genetic malformation that causes ammonia and toxic substances to build up in her bloodstream. If left unchecked, Kaylie’s condition could leave her comatose and permanently brain damaged. Before her second birthday, Kaylie had already received a liver transplant — just one of numerous healthcare procedures needed to manage her condition and requiring medical transportation.
The stress and uncertainties surrounding Kaylie’s condition (and to address child healthcare in general!) can often be overwhelming for any parents — and in Kaylie’s case, there’s a one-year-old brother, Gael, at home.
Fortunately, Kaylie and her family have found incredible support at UCLA’s renowned medical center, where a full team of top-tier experts regularly address Kaylie’s health concerns. What began as weekly appointments has since slowed to monthly visits — but often occurring in the thick of Los Angeles rush hour traffic, which leaves the family regularly facing down six-hour one-way trips.
Enter the volunteer pilots of Angel Flight West, to whom Kaylie’s parents were referred by Blair Butler, a helpful social worker at UCLA, who knew we could drastically reduce the families’ travel time. Angel Flight West is no stranger to partnering with amazing social work services to make lives in need feel a bit smoother. Requesting a flight is simple.
And although Kaylie’s mom, Iredy, was initially a bit scared of flying, she quickly discovered her daughter loves to be in the air. That realization, in its own way, has lifted Mom’s spirits, too.
Now, with trusted Angel Flight West pilots at the helm, Kaylie often sits, entranced, her bright eyes watching the passing clouds and with her travel companion, Fapi (a stuffed elephant toy), by her side as she makes her way to her doctor’s visits. Sometimes her grandma tags along, too.
Not only does AFW’s medical transportation support allow Kaylie and her family to significantly cut commute time, it has helped them find some invaluable quiet time in which to contemplate their family’s other needs — especially as Kaylie has recently welcomed a brand new baby brother earlier this year.
Whatever her needs, and wherever her destination, our volunteer pilots look forward to supporting Kaylie and her growing family (and Fapi, too!) for as long as our flights may be helpful.
Article by David Radcliff