Trip of a lifetime: A child in need

Through passenger donations made to Miles for Kids in Need, American Airlines was able to help 16-month-old Emily travel from her home in Ecuador to the United States for life-saving heart surgery. HeartGift, an organization that helps assist children born with congenital heart defects live a full life, organized the trip.

With assistance from American’s Kids in Need program, Airlines Ambassadors Flight Attendants Isabel Moss and Kim Bishop and a host of volunteers, Emily arrived safely in Austin, Texas, in March for her life-changing heart surgery at Dell Children’s Medical Center.

On arrival, Emily’s surgeon, Dr. Kenneth Fox, confirmed the diagnosis of her heart defect as a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) and projected a high probability of a successful correction through surgery. While it often takes only one surgery to save the life of a child with a congenital heart defect, that surgery is not available in most developing countries. HeartGift’s mission is to help these children.

Emily lives with her family in Loja – “the music capital of Ecuador” – where they grow carnations and alstroemeria flowers. ­ After a restful recovery and five short weeks, Emily and her mother Rudy flew home April 16 to their eagerly awaiting family. Another successful HeartGift realized.

American is proud to be able to assist organizations such as HeartGift through its passenger donation campaigns like Miles for Kids in Need. Please join us in helping make a difference. 

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