LAS VEGAS, Feb. 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Snow may shut down mountain roads this winter, but it won't stop a Montana toddler from reaching the medical care she needs to win her fight against brain cancer.
Two-year-old Joanna "Jojo" Hoskins from Great Falls has been battling medulloblastoma for almost a year. Symptoms came on suddenly last March, when Jojo began struggling to swallow and sleeping for hours at a stretch—definitely out of character for the energetic toddler who often refused naps. At first, local doctors chalked it up to a virus. Then they suspected a toy might be lodged in her throat. A CT scan finally revealed the awful truth.
Jojo was immediately airlifted to Seattle Children's Hospital and remained there for six months—undergoing multiple surgeries, blood transfusions and chemotherapy treatments. In September, the family returned home to Great Falls, planning to continue Jojo's chemotherapy every other week at a hospital four hours away in Kalispell. But snow comes early in the mountains, and it wasn't long before winter weather made the drive too dangerous.
"There were times we were driving on mountain passes in white-out conditions," says Jojo's mother, Meghan. "We realized we were risking our lives to do this drive every other week."
Flying wasn't an option. Though the Hoskins live 10 minutes from the Great Falls airport, there are no direct flights to Kalispell. But nonstops do depart from Great Falls to Seattle. Without much deliberation, the family decided to move Jojo's treatment back to Seattle Children's Hospital for the winter. At the suggestion of their doctor in Kalispell, they contacted Miracle Flights for financial assistance to get there. The national charity provides free plane tickets to help families reach specialized medical treatment not available in their local communities. For the Hoskins family—which includes mom Meghan, dad Chad and Jojo's six siblings—Miracle Flights alleviates a tremendous financial burden.
"Gas to drive there, hotel—those costs aren't covered by insurance," says Meghan. "Without Miracle Flights, we would have had to divide our family and just stay in Seattle, and we didn't want to do that again. Those first six months after Jojo's diagnosis were so hard."
Jojo and Meghan now take the two-hour direct flight to Seattle every other week for Jojo's chemotherapy treatments. They board their sixth Miracle Flight on February 18.
To help Jojo and other critically ill children reach life-saving treatment far from home, or to request a flight for your loved one, visit www.miracleflights.org.
About Miracle Flights
Miracle Flights is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides free medical air transportation to children and adults via commercial airlines throughout the United States. The organization, founded in 1985, has provided 129,703 flights and currently books more than 600 flights per month. To request a flight, learn more or donate, call 800-359-1711 or visit miracleflights.org. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.
Press Contact: Erika Koff: (702) 261-0494 or email@example.com
SOURCE Miracle Flights