Loving people is at the Heart of Southwest Airlines, and one of the many ways we connect with communities is through our Medical Transportation Grant Program (MTGP). Since 2007, Southwest has supported nonprofit hospitals and medical transportation organizations by providing complimentary, roundtrip tickets for patients and their families to use when seeking medical treatment. The purpose of the MTGP is to help alleviate travel costs for patients receiving critical medical treatments.
This year, we’re excited to donate 10,000 roundtrip tickets to 76 hospitals and medical transportation charities. Since the program’s inception, Southwest has donated nearly $32 million in transportation to support more than 79,000 patients and caregivers.
Giving back is an important part of Southwest and we’re honored to help people, like the Gnader family, through this program. The Gnaders have been MTGP recipients since 2018 and have used the program to travel between Texas and Ohio.
The following testimonial is from MTGP recipients Tim and Renee Gnader
In late 2016, our youngest daughter was diagnosed with a rare blood disease and underwent a bone marrow transplant in early 2017 at a local Dallas hospital. Her diagnosis makes her condition extremely complex.
In 2018, it became necessary to move her to a hospital that could offer her more specialized care. We knew her road to recovery would be long-term and tough, but as a family, we would continue celebrating the important moments in life. We were blessed to find her a doctor at the Cleveland Children’s Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, a little over 1,200 miles from home.
It was difficult for us to imagine our daughter moving so far from family and friends. Realizing we couldn’t see her on a regular basis created a great deal of anxiety. We found comfort in knowing that her mother was able to move to Cleveland to be by her side, even though the balance of our family would remain in the Dallas area.
This is where Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program has been such a blessing to our family.
With the help of the Medical Transportation Grant Program, we all have been able to spend numerous weekends in Cleveland. This time together has allowed our family to celebrate Christmas, our daughter's birthday, and be there for procedures and important medical progress updates. Being able to reconnect and encourage each other is paramount to our daughter's continued healing, and the emotional well-being of everyone in our family. Without the assistance of Southwest, we would not be able to share these much needed and meaningful moments together.
Southwest’s generosity demonstrates what a huge Heart the Company has for giving back. In fact, this inspired our eldest daughter to apply and participate in the Campus Reach Internship Program at Southwest. She was able to experience firsthand the hard work and dedication of the many People that make stories like ours possible.
Our family continues to feel the impact that Southwest has made on our lives, as their generosity has provided one less expense to worry us. Instead, we can focus on making the most of every trip to Cleveland.
As our daughter continues to progress in her healing, it gives us great joy to know that with Southwest’s assistance, we can look forward to spending valuable moments as a family. There are no words to express our gratitude to Southwest for the generosity and sincere commitment to families like ours.
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As Manager of the Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program, I have the privilege of working on a program that has touched the lives of more than 33,000 patients and their families.
Throughout the year, we receive numerous thank you notes from patients, doctors, and social workers. And while every story is special, this year, the story of Toby Shaw has especially touched me.
As the mother of two kids, I can sympathize with the tough decisions that faced Toby’s parents. They knew he needed specialized care for his arthrogryposis (ACM) and were doing anything in their power to get him that care. Thankfully, with the help of Miracle Flights and the Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program, Toby and his family are able to travel from their home in rural Ohio to Philadelphia where Toby is treated at Shriners Children’s Hospital.
Since 2007, the Southwest ‘s Medical Transportation Grant Program has supported patients’ needs for travel by donating roundtrip travel to hospitals and medical organizations. Shriners Children’s Hospital has been a part of the program for the past four years, and I’m delighted to share that Shriners is one of nearly 100 hospitals and organizations that will benefit from our program in 2014.
Seeing Toby’s smile or hearing his infectious laugh is all it takes to know that what I do matters, and I’m proud to work for a Company that believes in making a positive impact.
To learn more about Toby’s story please check out this previous blog post from his mother.
Through the Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program, we provide complimentary, roundtrip tickets to nonprofit hospitals and medical transportation organizations. Shriners Hospital for Children is one of 99 hospitals and medical organizations impacted through this program. In 2014, Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program will give more than $2.8 million in free transportation to patients needing to travel for treatment.
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As program manager of the Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program, I am humbled by the opportunity to offer complimentary airfare to medical patients who need to travel for treatment. Over the past five years since we first started the program, I’ve noticed that our Medical Transportation Grant Program offers so much more than travel —it offers hope, relief, compassion, and a lighter burden for families.
More than 27,000 patients’ lives have been positively impacted through this unique program, and each of these patients has a story to share. Below, you’ll get a glimpse into the lives that have been changed through this special program:
“I knew I couldn’t afford frequent travel to Barnes-Jewish hospital in St. Louis to get the treatment I needed. I can’t begin to explain how grateful my family and I are for Southwest Airline’s Medical Transportation Grant Program—everything is better.”-Barnes-Jewish patient
“Thank you, thank you, thank you. You have no idea how helpful this is. This [program] offers my son hope and a chance of living. I wasn’t sure financially how I was going to do this. You have just lifted a heavy burden. Thanks just aren’t enough. You all are blessed.” –Self-employed grant recipient
“Without the assistance from the Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program, I would be unable to receive the quality of care for my upcoming surgery at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. This assistance has been a tremendous relief for me and my family.” – Cancer patient
Southwest is now accepting applications from hospitals and medical transportation charities to participate in the 2014 program. Nonprofit hospitals and medical transportation organizations can apply online by visiting southwest.com/medicalgrant now through September 30. We’re in the business of changing lives, and over the next few weeks we’ll share more heartwarming stories where we’ve had the privilege of making a positive difference.
We wanted to introduce you to one more special girl, Ann Louise –her mom, Mary Beth, reached out to us to share her thanks and some great photos of Ann Louise traveling for her medical treatment:
"Boston Children's Hospital was the only place performing Fetal Heart Surgery. It is crucial we travel to Boston in order to maintain Ann Louise's medical care as these doctors know how to care for fetal heart children, like Ann Louise. Thanks to Southwest Airlines and Miracle Flights for Kids, they have closed the financial and geographical gap between our home and the care Ann Louise needs."
The Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program was created in response to a need that was repeatedly expressed to the airline—families facing serious illnesses need to travel for treatment. When the Medical Transportation Grant Program began in 2008, Southwest donated 1,700 tickets to 13 hospitals and organizations. What started as a small effort to make a difference has grown into a nationwide movement, benefiting thousands of individuals and hundreds of communities. Since the program’s inception, Southwest has donated more than $10 million in free travel. Today, we now support more than 90 hospitals and organizations nationwide for patients seeking medical treatment.
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Addison is a fighter. Since she was born, Addison has fought Larsen's Syndrome, a disease that causes many dislocations to her body. The Medical Transportation Grant Program has allowed Addison to travel to Children’s Hospital in Boston to receive care from one of the top hospitals in the nation. Since 2009, Addison has learned how to stand on her own, take her first steps, jump her first jump, walk by herself, and enjoy having fun like the rest of the kids her age. Addison is one of thousands of patients who have benefitted from Southwest’s Medical Transportation Grant Program over the last six years to get the medical treatment she needs. Through this program, we’re proud to have the opportunity to use our airplane seats for good and turn miles into smiles by providing complimentary, roundtrip airline tickets to nonprofit hospitals and medical organizations that then provide the tickets to patients and their caregivers who must travel for treatment. For 2013, Southwest will provide more than $2.8 million in free transportation to caregivers and patients seeking medical treatment. Now in its sixth year, Southwest has provided more than $10 million to organizations in 24 states. This year, we’re excited to partner with more than 90 nonprofit organizations and welcome new recipients to the program such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, an airport currently served by AirTran that will convert over to Southwest service by the end of 2013. Now, more than a year after celebrating our red bellies touching down in The Peach State, we’re thrilled to have three medical organizations in Atlanta part of the program—Emory University Hospitals, Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, and Shepherd Center. To see a full list of the 2013 recipients, please visit: www.southwest.com/medicalgrant. (click to enlarge and download) After more than four decades of giving from the heart, we are humbled to ease the difficulties these patients and families are facing through the Medical Transportation Grant Program. This infographic highlights the lives we’ve been able to touch through this unique program.
Here are just a few sound bites that we’ve heard along the way from caregivers of patients and hospitals that have benefitted from the grant program. "The financial burden on our family has been severe. I have many things to be thankful for, but regaining my health has been a long, expensive road. Southwest Airlines has been a true blessing. Thanks to them the burden is lightened." – Medical Transportation Grant Program Recipient
"It is difficult to put into words how grateful me, my wife, and my disabled son are for Southwest Airlines' Medical Transportation Grant Program. It has been a very difficult ordeal to go through these past two years, but without the assistance of Southwest, I would not have the chance to extend my life to this point and beyond, and for that reason we thank you from the bottom of our hearts." –MD Anderson Patient
"The Medical Transportation Grant program has been an incredible help for our family. We never thought that we would have a life-threatening disease that would turn our lives upside down. Thanks to this program, we had one less thing to worry about and were able to focus on our child’s health." –Parent of Medical Transportation Grant Program recipient
To learn about qualifications for travel assistance through the designated organizations, please contact the Social Work, Travel/Concierge Service, or Patient Assistance Department directly at each location, as each have unique guidelines for administration of tickets. Find out more about all the ways Southwest stands for community by visiting www.southwest.com/citizenship.
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I have the best job in the world. For the past five years, I have had the privilege to manage Southwest’s Medical Transportation Grant Program since its inception where I work with hospitals and medical organizations to help grant miracles every day. Through Southwest’s unique program, we offer free, roundtrip tickets on Southwest to patients needing to travel to receive medical attention. Many times, we are providing hope in a hopeless situation, a miracle to someone who needs it most. Imagine having the privilege to tell a patient or a patient’s family that they don’t need to worry about how they will afford to fly across the country to receive treatment. Together, we ease financial and emotional burdens to allow the patients and their loved ones to focus on what matters most. Over the past several weeks, we’ve shared with you several of these stories—stories from patients and families who received a miracle when they needed it most. Winston’s family sacrificed everything so he could receive the best treatment for his condition. Sue was offered a second chance of life when she received new lungs from a brave donor. Addison is able to live a life without worry despite her condition because she has been able to travel for the treatment she needs. And yet, these stories are only a glimpse into the thousands of lives that have been touched through the program. In 2012, Southwest provided more than $2.4 million in free transportation to more than 70 hospitals and organizations nationwide for patients seeking medical treatment. Since the program was launched, more than 20,000 lives have been touched through this program. We believe that this is only the beginning, and many others just like Winston, Sue, and Addison are waiting in hopes of a miracle. You too can be a miracle granter by spreading the word about the Medical Transportation Grant Program. Together, we can make a difference by providing hope for those who need it most. Learn more about this amazing program and how nonprofits can apply to participate: www.southwest.com/medicalgrant. Act fast- the application closes on September 30.
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As you may know, we are celebrating Loyalty Month at Southwest. During the month of May, we are showing our appreciation – and loyalty – to those who give back to us, whether it is a Rapid Rewards Member, Military Heroes, Teachers, or Nurses! This month we are making an extra special effort to thank these folks and let them know how much we appreciate them. This month celebrated National Nursing Day, and we celebrated this day and loyalty month by surprising nurses at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas. We have a long history with Texas Scottish Rite, as they are part of our Medical Transportation Grant Program and their nurses and staff members took place in a special photo shoot with DearWorld earlier this year. So, how do you celebrate nurses? How about a banner with their great DearWorld photos, a delicious cake, fun sticky note pads, and individually wrapped snacks to get them through their long shifts! My co-workers and I had such a good time visiting, showing our appreciation, and celebrating all that they do each and every day to make a positive difference in the lives of their patients and their families. Each and every one of the nurses that stopped by had a personal story about Southwest, and one shared how the Medical Transportation Grant Program has made a difference in the life of one of her patients who travels to Texas Scottish Rite for treatment. I think nursing is a true calling, and we were proud to – in some small way – celebrate Nurses loyalty to their patients and how much we appreciate what they do!
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