March 20, 2012

Don Virostek, Director of Orthotics at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, reminds the world that he has no limits. Photo by Dear World Photography Project.

Recently, my husband and I were lucky enough to jump on a plane for a relaxing vacation. I am always amazed at the cost of air travel and there are many times when we forego the expense of air travel and vacation locally. However, for some families, air travel is a necessity – for example when they are flying to receive critically – needed medical treatment.

Fortunately, Epic’s commitment to giving back and helping others is shared by another well-known Texas company, Southwest Airlines (whose NYSE symbol is LUV). The NYSE symbol is certainly appropriate given the fact that for five years Southwest’s Medical Transportation Grant Program has reduced the burden of travel costs for families who are facing serious illness by providing free, round-trip airline tickets to nonprofit hospitals and medical organizations.

In February of this year, Southwest announced that more than 70 hospitals and charities, nationwide, were selected for this year’s program. Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, in Dallas, is one of the proud participating hospitals that can provide free tickets to patients who must travel for treatment. According to the “LUV” airline, “for 2012, Southwest will provide more than $2.4 million in free transportation to patients seeking medical treatment. Now in its fifth year, the program has quadrupled the number of participating hospitals since its inception and has provided more than 18,800 tickets to organizations in 26 states.”

Marilee McInnis authored a Southwest Airlines blog entitled “Making a Difference in the Lives of Families Facing Serious Illness One Ticket at a Time.” The article is inspiring and includes some amazing photographs, such as the photo included in our blog. To learn more about this amazing grant program and the Dear World photography project, click here. And always remember to “share the love”.