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Angel Flight Aids Springfield Family in Need

Three and a half year old Braiden Sullivan has faced multiple complex reconstructive surgeries after his lower leg was injured by a lawn mower last year. Braiden lives in Springfield, but he needed to go to Cincinnati for treatment. An organization called Angel Flight helped get Braiden to Cincinnati and back home. KSMU’s Matt Evans has more.

Braiden rode on the lawn mower every weekend with his grandfather. Braiden’s grandfather had operated heavy machinery for 30 years and never had an accident. However, about a year ago, Braiden fell off the back of the mower and was severely injured by the spinning blades.

“He lost the back half of his right leg from the knee down. And then on the left his heel was completely cut off, plus part of his leg and the inner part of his calf,” said Jolley.

Nancy Jolley is Braiden’s grandmother. After the accident, Braiden spent a few weeks in a Springfield hospital, but doctors determined that he needed to go to Cincinnati for treatment. Braiden then spent four months in the Shriner’s Hospital in Cincinnati having surgeries to reconstruct his legs.

After Braiden was released from the hospital, he still needed to travel to Cincinnati every three months for a checkup. Jolley made the trip with Braiden once, but she decided it was too far for her to drive on her own. The hospital suggested that Jolley contact Angel Flight.

“I cannot say enough about Angel Flight. They’re the most wonderful, kind people and if it wasn’t for them, I don’t know where we would be or where several other kids would be,” said Jolley

Angel Flight is nonprofit organization that arranges free transportation to medical treatment for people who are “financially distressed.” All of Angel Flight’s pilots are general aviation pilots.

Mark Carroll has been flying for ten years and has been a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight Central since January.

“The whole concept of angel flight is that the pilot agrees to donate their time and their airplane and all the costs associated with the flight.”

Braiden is still going to Cincinnati every six months for check-ups and relies on Angel Flight to get him there. For more information on Angel Flight, you can visitwww.angelflight.com.

For KSMU News, I’m Matt Evans.