Southwest Airlines® has shown a lot of "LUV" to MD Anderson over the past 10 years. Its Medical Transportation Grant Program, which provides travel to nonprofit hospitals and medical transportation organizations, offers approximately 750 round trip flights each year to benefit MD Anderson cancer patients and their families.
"We are proud to partner with MD Anderson and other great hospitals through our Medical Transportation Grant Program," says Laurie Barnett, managing director of Communications and Outreach at Southwest Airlines. "This program helps connect our customers to the medical care they need, and we are honored to play a role."
Since the program's inception in 2007, Southwest Airlines has provided transportation to more than 90 hospitals and organizations nationwide, totaling more than $23.6 million in free transportation.
"As a founding partner of the grant program, MD Anderson is extremely grateful to Southwest Airlines for generously donating flights to our patients in need of financial assistance," says Richard Gorlick, M.D., division head, Pediatrics. "This vital program reduces the financial burden of cancer patients who travel to MD Anderson for lifesaving treatment."
Patients such as Carlisa Gibson, of Hanson, Kentucky, describe the free transportation as a blessing.
"This assistance has been of great help," she says. "Without it, I'm not able to go to all of my necessary appointments. I'm blessed that Southwest provides these tickets for patients. Thank you!"
Paula Montano, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, says the voucher program is "extremely helpful."
"I have to travel for treatment several times a year for my rare condition and am acquiring more medical bills," she says. "Getting help with airline flights is so helpful. I would not be able to travel for my treatments without the generosity of these vouchers."
Southwest Airlines golf tournament helps raise money for MD Anderson
MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital received $100,000 in funds raised through Southwest Airlines' October 2017 LUV Classic Golf Tournament in Dallas.
"For the 32nd year, our LUV Classic Golf Tournament raised money in support of deserving charities around the country," says Laurie Barnett, managing director of Communications and Outreach at Southwest Airlines. "We are thrilled that a portion from the 2017 tournament will benefit MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital to assist in its noble efforts to end cancer worldwide."
Gorlick says MD Anderson is grateful for Southwest Airlines' continued support.
"Funds from the LUV Classic support critical cancer research and programs that aim to save the lives of children and young adults worldwide," he says.
Ethan Tepera, 19, of Weatherford, Texas, is a leukemia survivor who served as a patient ambassador at the tournament.
"As an MD Anderson patient, I was offered a clinical trial that no one else had offered me," says Tepera, who is attending Texas A&M University. "By financially supporting this research, Southwest Airlines has played and continues to play a huge role in saving lives."