When Tommy was diagnosed with a rare disease just 10 days after birth, joy quickly turned to despair. To get the care he needed, Tommy would have to travel 7 hours from home for multiple treatments. Commercial flights or ground transportation just wasn't going to work.

The Reznick family was on cloud 9 when their baby boy, Tommy was born. However, 10 days after his birth their phone rang, the family tried to keep it together and comprehend what they were being told on the other line. After a routine newborn screening and blood work their doctor confirmed that Tommy had a rare genetic disease called Krabbe’s Disease, which is usually fatal by age two.

The next few weeks and months after Tommy’s diagnosis brought so much uncertainty. At the time of Tommy’s diagnosis he was only the 26th known child in the state of New York with Krabbe’s disease. Every time it seemed like there was hope something came along to take it away, whether it was more blood work or an emergency MRI.

After months of back and forth they were referred to the leading doctor in research and care for children with Krabbe. The only downside was that she was located at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, a 7-hour drive from the Reznick’s family home in West Islip, New York.

“There are families in this world that were told by their doctors to just go home. Take pictures, take videos, make memories, because it’s not going to last. As a parent that’s not an answer you can accept.”
Thomas, Tommy’s Dad

Tom Reznick delivers a heartfelt speech at our Annual SkyHope Gala

When the family was told they needed to travel to Pittsburgh they knew they were going to make it work no matter what. The first time they went to Pittsburgh they flew on a commercial flight. For anyone in their position it’s difficult to go to the airport with a 2-month old and figure out how to get from the airport to the hotel, from the hotel to the hospital.

After that first trip and creating their game plan for how to treat their son, they figured they needed to travel every 3 months for the first year, every 6 months for the second year, then reevaluate. After explaining their situation to their family, one member mentioned PALS SkyHope and they looked into it immediately.

“We’ve used PALS for over two years now and the experience has been unbelievable. The stress of having to travel was immediately gone and all of our focus was able to stay on our son.”
Thomas, Tommy’s Dad

In closing, with everything parents go through, the stress and worry for their children. They don’t know what tomorrow brings, but knowing that a resource like PALS SkyHope is out there can reassure parents that they have one less thing to worry about. With the help of donors like you Tommy has reached his third birthday.

“Between PALS SkyHope itself, the pilots, even the donors, my family is forever grateful for what you all do. Thank you.”
Thomas, Tommy’s Dad

Please donate todaybecome a part of our growing community and help life saving missions like this continue.

Our Story

PALS began its mission to provide free medical, compassion and veteran flights back in 2010. It was the dream of our founders, who as pilots felt their skills and resources could help people with free air transportation for medical treatments.

That initial inspiration and the first PALS flight has now grown to over 30,000 flights for over 3,200 families and an astounding 6.5 million miles flown. Quite an accomplishment for a free air travel organization a little over 10 years old.

Our Passenger Stories

Over the years and over many missions, we’re honored and humbled to hear how many lives we’ve been able to impact. Often times when a person is diagnosed with a life-changing illness, the care they need is inaccessible by car due to the repeat trips and length of each trip. When these families and individuals reach out to PALS, our team of volunteer pilots and mission coordinators go to work to make free travel to a medical facility or hospital possible. The stories we hear and those that our patients send us are all the reward we need.

Let’s make more critical medical flights and compassion flights happen! We cannot do it without you.