Angel Flight connects rural families with city health services

Lesley and John Jones are singing the praises of Angel Flight after they had cause to use the service last year when their baby son Joseph needed medical treatment in Sydney.

Locals John and Lesley Jones are full of praise for the Angel Flight service which helped their family when their four month old baby son Joseph needed medical treatment in Sydney.

Joseph, the youngest of their four children, is now a happy 10 month old baby and shows no signs of being dramatically affected by the severe burns he received to his face six months ago.

Little Joseph sustained burns to the tip of his nose, top of his lip, his chin and his cheek when he pulled down an electric candle full of melted wax onto himself.

“We didn’t realise at the time that he knew how to turn over and he’s turned over and pulled the cord and pulled it down on top of himself,” mum Lesley said.

Lesley immediately applied first aid for the burns and the couple raced him to Cobar Hospital for treatment.

For the next week Joseph had his burns dressed daily by Community Health Centre staff and it was then determined that Joseph would need a skin graft.

John and Lesley made their first trip to Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney by car so that Joseph could have a skin graft operation.

When staff spoke to John and Lesley about coming back for Joseph’s check up it was suggested they could use the Angel Flight service.

“John took him down, I don’t fly,” Lesley said.

John said he and Joseph were collected by an Angel Flight pilot at Cobar airport and flown to Bankstown Airport in Sydney where they were met by ground transport and taken to Westmead.

Joseph had his check up and they spent the night in Sydney before Angel Flight returned them to Cobar the next day.

“We’re extremely happy with the service they provided, “ John said.

“They looked after us, the pilot was very friendly and helpful.”

Angel Flight is a not for profit charity that provides free flights to financially struggling country people who need to attend medical appointments in the city.

Media officer for Angel Flight Australia Julie Scott said the organisation doesn’t receive any government funding nor do they fundraise.

“We rely solely on word of mouth and donations. One hundred per cent of the donations go straight into Angel Flights and the administration of Angel Flights,” Ms Scott said.

“Many country people do not know that they can utilise our service for free.”

She said Angel Flight can coordinate flights for country people travelling to their city medical appointments as well as ground transport in the city from the airport to their medical facility and back to the airport.

“Patients of all ages needing medical treatment at destinations where other forms of transport are physically and emotionally taxing or unaffordable can access Angel Flight services,” she said.

“Angel Flight can also transport blood and blood products and medical drugs to country people requiring these items.”

Passengers must be medically stable, ambulatory and physically able to enter and exit a small aircraft without assistance from the pilot.

Children are to be accompanied by an adult.

For further information visit the Angel Flight website