For those navigating the stress, fear and financial burden of cancer treatment, something as simple as getting to the doctor’s office can be difficult. For some, when treatment is far from home, they have no option but to miss life-saving appointments. But for pilot Kathy Broussard of Houston, Texas this was “unacceptable”. Kathy, along with a group of volunteer pilots, began flying patients to the airport near their Houston medical appointments. There was only one problem with this wonderful service- getting from the airport to the hospital often meant an expensive and stressful cab ride, that was often too much for her patient passengers.
The idea of Houston Ground Angels came to Kathy when “In 1999, one of her frequent-flyer patients, Eva, called Broussard and said she wouldn’t be coming in. ‘She started crying and says, ‘Kathy, I don’t have cab fare.’ I said, ‘Eva, I’ll drive you down.’ I put her in my truck and went downtown. And then, all of the sudden, it just popped in my head, ‘I wonder if [other people in] Houston would be interested in this?’ At the time, Broussard was a single mother of five working full-time at an oil refinery. She spent her spare time coordinating the drivers, or “ground angels.” When pilots alerted Broussard that they were flying in a patient, she would arrange for a ground angel to meet them.” The idea caught on.
Kathy now runs a volunteer organization of pilots and drivers to make sure transportation is the last thing her passenger-patients need to worry about. In 2010, the Houston Ground Angels had provided more than 200 missions a month, and that number continues to grow. “All of the volunteers agree, you only have to assist one or two patients before you are hooked and cannot stop helping. ”
I am thankful for Kathy and all of the HGA volunteers who “take the wheel” when others are in need of a driver or pilot — they are truly angels of courage!
Read more about Kathy at: http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/07/08/cnnheroes.broussard.ground.angels/index.html
Go to her HGA web site at: http://www.houstongroundangels.org/kathy.htm