BANGOR — A Pennsylvania based non-profit is helping people from Maine get to and from appointments for free.
Angel Flight East provides free air transportation for qualified patients who have a long way to travel for medical care.
Passengers are required to medically stable and able to walk on their own without assistance to board a small airplane in order to apply. Once qualified, a person can fly as often as needed and there is never a charge.
Angel Flight East spokesperson Jess Ames said medically stable means the individual requires no medical staff for the duration of the flight.
Paperwork is required by the individual’s doctor which states that it is safe for the patient to fly in a non-pressurized airplane. During the flight, it is only the passenger and the pilot in the aircraft.
Diane Messer of Blue Hill has been dealing with the effects of Lyme Disease since she contracted it in 2010 and needed to go to Boston to get a new treatment.
Messer said she submitted forms to use Angel Flight East to transport her for treatment and received a call the next day with approval.
She said it’s difficult for her to sit in ground transportation for a long time, so it was more convenient for her to fly.
Angel Flight East Pilot Michael Steele flew Messer, and estimated the flight would take just under two hours.
“It gives us a way to help out, to pay it forward,” Steele said. “A lot of these people have multiple trips. They have to go back and forth, and it’s a large expense for transportation. We’re gonna be flying anyway because we enjoy it, so it’s just a way to fly and do some good.”
Messer said she spent 22 years in the U.S. Army where she was a helicopter and a medevac pilot.
“In this case, I guess I paid it forward. I had took a lot of people on medevac trips, and so I get to take one,” Messer said.
Messer did not know exactly what kind of treatment she will be receiving in Boston but said she is relieved to have an easy way of getting there.