Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Hope (& Tragedy) for Salvadorean Heart Children

Airline Ambassadors was honored to be a part of the recent Gift of Life project that sent 40 Salvadorean children for heart surgery to 13 different countries.

Each of the children was recognized in a special ceremony before leaving El Salvador. Airline Ambassadors had been able to work with American Airlines' Miles for Kids in Need program to facilitate the departure of 18 of the children to hospitals in the United States.

The most memorable part of the trip was visiting little Gerson's house. The family truly has nothing. His mother's hug for each of us as we departed was especially poignant as she was putting all her faith and trust in us to take care of her little boy.

Glenda and Stephanie Straub joined this effort as a mother and daughter team and participated at the ceremony, aid distribution, and as part of AAI's escort to Dallas Fort Worth.

Pattye and Michelle from American Airline's Miles for Kids in Need met us in Dallas and helped facilitate SIX connections!

Margaret Whitehead worked her usual magic and sent AAI escorts to facilitate the flight to Miami - David Coleman, Isabel Moss and Kathy Gonzalez.

I met Brenda Small of Gift of Life yesterday, as she returned to LA with the last of the kids. Bob Haynes, one of our pilot members, had bought each of the kids teddy bears and upgraded them all to first class!

Most of the children Airline Ambassadors escorted out have already had their surgeries and are doing fine, but nine-month old Brian Zameta (photo), who traveled all the way to Jordan, died of kidney failure shortly after his operation. He joined little Christopher Alexander Aquino Castaneda who had died before even leaving El Salvador.

We are planning an AAI mission back to help the families in August or September.

Nancy Rivard
President, Airline Ambassadors

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