Indiana family returns home after being stranded in Naples
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
NAPLES, Fla.- An Indianapolis family is now back home after being stranded in Naples for weeks. The family's 18-year-old daughter got sick while on family vacation and the only way to get her home is by a medical airplane.
Maddie Ross is more than a thousand miles away from Indiana, but an ambulance ride is step one to getting her back home.
"Excited to go home," asked reporter Julie Salomone.
"Oh my God. You have no idea. Thank you to everyone for making this happen," said Paula Strauss, Maddie's mother.
The Indianapolis family was stranded in Naples. Their daughter Maddie who has spina bifida got sick during vacation. She spent weeks in an ICU room at Physicians Regional in Naples.
"They took her down for a cat scan. They did chest x-rays and saw she has aspiration pneumonia," said Strauss.
The only way to get Maddie home was by a medical airplane. It's something the family's health insurance won't cover, but a charity in the Midwest known as Grace on Wings came to the rescue.
"Most insurance companies won't cover relocation costs. They are not going to cover a trip from Florida for a family that needs to get back to Indiana so families get stuck and stranded and we get called," said Tami Blank, Grace on Wings.
Volunteers took Maddie from Naples by ambulance to Fort Myers where wings waited.
"It's just an indescribable feeling we're having right now," said Strauss.
Donations poured in to pay the $10,000 dollars needed to cover fuel costs.
"I can't believe the people that reached out to help this little girl. We've never seen this in our 7 years. Over 160 donors, some just giving $5 dollars or whatever they could to get Maddie home," said Blank.
After overwhelming support, a family who felt grounded is now given wings needed to fly.
"We couldn't do it without everyone and God. We're so blessed," said Strauss.
The pilot and medical staff with Grace on Wings are all volunteers. They all worked to make sure Maddie got home safely to a hospital in Indianapolis.