Stage IV Neuroblastoma Patient travels from Florida to New York for Care

Please take a moment to read about Zea’s healthcare journey requiring her to travel from Miami, FL to not only Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York for specialized treatment, but also other medical facilities throughout the east coast. to ensure her recovery and continued progress.

At the age of 3 months, Zea was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma. After a surgical procedure at a Miami hospital, she was left completely paralyzed at that which was then followed with eight (8) cycles of chemotherapy. Her family knew she needed to have more specialized care to treat her aggressive form of cancer, so they transferred her care to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City. The neuroblastoma team at placed her on a “watch and wait” protocol to better understand the extent of her cancer and the best method to treat it which has required her family to frequently travel from Florida to NYC every 3 months for close monitoring and MIBG/MRI scans. This grueling travel schedule continued for over 3 years until she was thankfully diagnosed as “stable from the disease”.

Now 8 years old, Zea is in remission; however, she continues to experience the late effects of the cancer, including a mobility impairment and neurogenic bladder. She also receives intensive spinal cord rehabilitation at Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI) at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD. And she recently started with a new orthopedic team at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City. She continues to follow up at MSKCC annually, KKI twice a year and HSS multiple times for research and analysis of her mobility.

With the support of our amazing commercial partner, JetBlue, along with generous support from the Brian Goldner Center for Transforming Futures established by Hasbro and Brian’s family to honor his life and legacy, Angel Flight NE has been able to support Zea and her family during her continuous healthcare journey for the past 7 years and will continue to support with free air transportation for as long and as often as she needs our assistance.

Her mother, Heather, recently sent the following note of thanks:
“Without the support of the flights, we would not be able to travel to receive this medical care which literally saved her life and allows her access to specialized treatment to improve her condition. Not only do they provide flights for Zea, but also for her family to join her so we can stay together during these difficult times. I am eternally grateful for the continued support.”

We are able to transform patients’ lives – like Zea’s –  who need to access life-saving medical care with the amazing support of our compassionate, giving volunteer pilots along with the generous support of our commercial aviation partners and charitable foundations.

And support of individuals, like you, is also vital to ensuring distance is never an obstacle for patients and families in need. 

As with all of our patients, Zea and her family will always have a place in our heart and will remain a part of the Angel Flight NE extended family. We continually assure her mom that we are here during Zea’s healthcare journey for as long and as often as she needs our assistance to access the vital care and treatment she needs during her ongoing healthcare journey.

Mission/Flight requests – like Zea’s – happen daily and we are privileged to have the opportunity to not only fly but deeply care for all who turn to us for help at difficult times in their lives.  We are here for her for as long and as often as she needs our help and to ensure the best possible outcome. Please keep Zea along with all of our patients in your thoughts and prayers.

We are proudly celebrating our 27th year of service having scheduled over 108,000 flights for patients who have traveled  more than 15 million miles to 750+ medical facilities throughout the United States since our founding in 1996.

Thank You and God Bless You for your support and belief in our healing mission.

With your help, we can ensure that distance is never an obstacle for patients, like Zea and the thousands of others we assist yearly.

Warmest regards,
Fr. Larry & the AFNE Staff

Posted Under: Thankful Thursday

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