Holiday Homecoming: On the Wings of Angel MedFlight

Finalist #1

Finalist #2

Finalist #3

Finalist #4

Finalist #5

Coming January 2014

Join us for the My Real Life Moment™ Holiday Homecoming story of Lori and Michael's first face to face meeting, 2,747 days after Michael's life altering gift.

From our Angel MedFlight family to yours - we wish you the merriest and safest Holiday Season.

Voting is now closed.

Finalist #1


Fly My Step-son Home

What a joy it would be to have my step-son, Michael Anthony, home for Christmas. While he is a step-son, I raised him as my own.

Michael is a military veteran, a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and most importantly a cancer survivor and my angel every day. He is a man with a heart of gold and a love that is purely unconditional, despite the hardships he has faced throughout his 44 years on this Earth.

His biological mother left him at nine months. At the time, his father was overseas serving in the military, so Michael was raised by his grandparents until his father was discharged and could return home. Michael and his father moved from place to place due to his father's employment, but he has now settled in Oklahoma with his wife, which is half-way across the county from his immediate family.

He has been diagnosed from being a Type I diabetic, to being diagnosed with kidney and bladder cancer, which resulted in the loss of his kidneys, bladder, and prostate a couple of years ago, forcing him to retire early from his career. While now cancer free, he is on the waiting list for a kidney transplant.

Throughout all of his personal ordeals, his wife was now recently diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy within the last several months. She just completed her last chemotherapy visit and we are waiting for good news that she is cancer free. She still has to have reconstructive surgery on her breasts sometime within the next several months.

Despite what seems to be life's hardest and most difficult battles, my son has always been a ray of light in everyone's life. He has taught everyone to always love unconditionally and look on the bright side despite what seem to be endless impossibilities and dead-ends in life.

Due to being on dialysis five days a week, and having a wife recovering from her mastectomy, traveling over 1300 miles by car for the holidays would be quite difficult in general. Christmas is the best time of year for a reunion because it is filled with celebrations with all your loved ones. To see my son opening up his Christmas presents under our family tree and being able to give him a hug and kiss once midnight hits on New Year's Eve would be my Christmas wish come true.

Finalist #2


My aunt and uncle have been struggling financially for some time. With two kids in college, and one still living at home, it's necessary to do whatever it takes to make ends meet, save the house and keep the children enrolled in college if possible. That's why they made the decision several months ago for my Uncle Jeff to take a job in California rather than get laid off again, which he was confident would put their finances under water this time. My aunt and cousins stayed back in Massachusetts while my Uncle Jeff lives in California, away from the family, working to support two households.

If the circumstances above aren't difficult enough, tragedy struck again a few weeks ago. Uncle Jeff had difficulty breathing, went to the emergency room, and before he knew what hit him he was diagnosed with cancer in his lungs; seemingly healthy one day and fighting for his life the next. My aunt scraped together the money to fly to California to be with him for the biopsy, and thank goodness she did. The biopsy surgery resulted in his not being able to come off of the respirator for days due to the interference of the mass in his lungs, which kept filling with fluids. Today, the respirator is out, but his lungs are still filling with the fluids.

The diagnosis came in: Stage 4 cancer. I can't even remember the name it was so long, but it is a form of lymphoma. Life expectancy: five years, max. So young, only 52. Needless to say he is scared, the family is scared, and everyone just wants him home as soon as he's able to fly.

Jeff has started treatment, but now he is unable to work. My aunt is at risk of losing her job as she has to stay in California until he's able to come home. Seeing your email today about the Holiday Homecoming on the Wings of Angel MedFlight was a blessing, and I know that there are so many people out there that see it as a blessing also.

My hope is that you consider offering this flight home to my aunt and uncle, so that he can get the treatment he needs here in Massachusetts, among family and loved ones, and they can work to save their home, as well as his life.

Thanks so much for considering this nomination. On another note, Angel MedFlight treated my family wonderfully during the transportation of my Dad earlier this year. You flew him hom to Florida after a devastating stroke and we so appreciated the kindness bestowed on my mom and dad when he was in your care.

Finalist #3


Hey, I'm extremely unfortunate synthetic mesh victim.

In 2006, after many doctor visits, I was diagnosed with mesh erosion and went to Atlanta to have the infected mesh removed. During the surgery my rectum was perforated. Peritonitis set it and I was in the Intensive Care Unit for eight (8) weeks. I returned home with a colostomy bag, wound vac, home health care and a long road of corrective surgeries. My last surgery was a (massive) ventral hernia repair using Alloderm and Strattice. The Alloderm did not hold up and I now have four new hernias which are causing obstructions and becoming strangulated. My situation now is "wait and pray" that I don't end up in an emergency room where no one is really capable of helping me, or performing surgery in a controlled environment where, God willing, things will go much better.

Throughout all these years, my husband and I have been raising our grandson who has Tourette's Syndrome w/Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and does not handle change well at all. Thank God I have four sisters who've been angels and helped me with him. I really don't know what we would have done without them.

The reason I was asking for help with this submission is because this next surgery is going to be extensive. I will go to Miami and be admitted on December 6 with surgery scheduled for December 10. I will need to stay in rehab until they remove the drains. The doctors expect me to be released Christmas Eve if all goes well. Christmas Eve is also my grandson's 10th birthday and he is having a hard time adjusting to the idea of me not being there to celebrate his birthday with him... or to celebrate Christmas with him. I don't mind telling you that it is really bothering me too, but there is no way around it unless I put the surgery off and I'm afraid that I might not have insurance if I wait much longer.

We have maxed out our credit cards on flights, so we decided to rent a car and drive home because the surgeon can't guarantee the exact date I can leave. If we had to change our flight, we might be sitting in an airport for days waiting on a flight out and I can't risk infection, so we can't even get a decent rate on a flight home. As it stands, either we rent a vehicle and drive for several days and still not make it home for his birthday or Christmas Day, or we try to get some help from Angel MedFligt.

I know it is a long shot to be the one chosen, but I have to try for my grandson. We are all he has. I really want to be there for him. So, if you can help...I know one little boy who will be very, very happy...and one women who will be grateful - Me.

Finalist #4


My 38 year old daughter, Sarah, has been fighting metastatic Endocervical Adenocarcinoma cancer for the past 5 1/2 years. In October 2012, when it returned for the third time, she was diagnosed "non-operable terminal." They told us she would have to endure on-going palliative chemo with a prognosis of 12 to 18 months if the chemotherapy treatments were successful. So far, they have changed her chemo three times because nothing is working. We are trying to buy time in the hope that a clinical trial will become available which might help her.

By the grace of God, Sarah is still with us this holiday season. We live in Phoenix, Arizona. My parents (ages 86 & 89) are in failing health. My mother is in constant chronic pain and can no longer walk without the assistance of a walker or wheel chair. My dad is diabetic and also began having brief seizures last April. They were forced to give up their home in Florida in May and moved to my sister's home in northern Georgia. The plan was for them to live there during the summer then come to Arizona with us during the winter. Since then their health (especially my mother's health) has deteriorated to the point that they cannot travel by commercial airline or long distance by car. My mother is deeply depressed because she knows Sarah is dying and she can't get here to see her.

I would give anything for us to have one last Christmas together as a family. Please bring my parents, Harvey and Betty, to Phoenix to celebrate Christmas with my daughter Sarah. My husband lost his job last year and had to take a much lower-paying job and my son-in-law, Sarah's husband, lost his job weeks ago due to down-sizing. So at this time, we are financially and physically unable to do this on our own. Please be our Christmas Angel and fly my parents home on your wings.

Finalist #5


I think Angel MedFlight should bring Michael Henkel from Dorsten, Germany to Bettendorf, Iowa as part of the Holiday Homecoming campaign. Why? Because he deserves a lifetime of "THANKS" from my family and friends!

Michael is not my brother, cousin, uncle or any other family member, but yet he IS "family" because we now have the exact same DNA, blood type and bone marrow. On June 22, 2006, Michael gave me the gift of life! He donated his bone marrow, which was a perfect match, at a very critical time in my life.

I had unsuccessfully tried chemotherapy and radiation for years, but was finding myself without any option but a bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately, there was no family member or registered donor that matched my bone marrow. By the grace of God, Michael registered and was entered into the international registry just when I needed him - and he agreed to be my "perfect match" bone marrow donor! Thanks to Michael's good health, unselfishness, willingness to help, and compassion, I am alive today and able to live a healthy life!

I am able to work full-time for the Department of Defense (US ARMY), be a full-time mom to my 18-year-old son Matthew, and enjoy every aspect of life: church, family, friends, jazzercise, bowling, and running. Without Michael, my life would have had a different outcome. Michael's gift has helped me accomplish some amazing things since the transplant like completing Abrams Tank Commander Training, obtaining my motorcycle license, and running the Detroit half-marathon! Thanks to Michael, I truly look forward to a great future! I spend every moment being GRATEFUL for this one life, knowing it was Michael that made that happen for me.

I don't have a bucket list, but I do have one wish! I want to meet him, face-to-face and THANK HIM for giving my son back his mother!! I can't remember the last time I asked for something, but I am asking now to the team at Angel MedFlight, because it is probably one of the most important requests I have. I have communicated with Michael since September 2008. He was very young at the time he was my donor. Since my bone marrow transplant, he has gotten married. Not only has Michael saved a life, he has created two beautiful children. He is a full-time employee, husband, and father. For both of us, it's a dream to meet, but resources have prevented that from occurring. Please, I ask that you bring Michael to me! And, if resources are available, it would be a blessing to have his wife and children come along for the Holiday Homecoming too.

I have a home in Bettendorf, Iowa. They of course would be welcomed by my family and have no expenses while here. We would provide them a place to stay and meals to eat, and ensure they had transportation as well. For seven years, my family and friends have dreamed of throwing him an amazing thank you party!

I pray Angel MedFlight will select me and my story so Michael can come "home" to us, if even for a short amount of time.

With sincere appreciation and hope,
Lori McFate