William L. (Bill) Connor, founder of Angel Bus, age 50, lost his four-year battle with leukemia in September, 2008.
Bill developed his love of buses as a kid growing up in St. Paul, Minnesota. As a youth, he had no other transportation, so he got everywhere he needed to go on a bus. Later he obtained his own motorcoach, and his family said he was never happier than when he was behind the wheel. In 1999, Bill’s son Jaran was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer and Bill formed a nonprofit corporation, Angel Bus, which was modeled after Angel Flight, to transport terminally ill children in luxury and conversion coaches. Jaran died in 2004 and 20 days after his death, Bill was diagnosed with acute leukemia. He battled his illness for the ensuing four years. His goal was to reach age 50 and he did achieve that.
Angel Wheels volunteer drivers Les and Pam Davidson were honored to provide the gift of transportation to Osvaldo L., a ten-year-old boy, just prior to Christmas. Osvaldo requires routine medical appointments at UCLA Medical Center due to liver and bone marrow transplant.
Les and Pam picked Osvaldo and his mother up at the UCLA Medical Center and took them to their home in Ontario, California. Osvaldo’s family did not have the means available to bring him home before Christmas.
In typical Angel Wheels fashion, Les and Pam thanked Angel Bus for the opportunity to help out.
The wheels on Mike and Jackie’s rig turned very early the morning of July 19 as the couple headed to Charlestown, Indiana, to pick up Stanley, the first Angel Wheels patient to get a ride in a motor coach since the nonprofit organization was reinstated by Mercy Medical Angels. Mike Miller is a volunteer driver who calls Livingston, Texas, home base. They were in Kentucky visiting Mike’s mother.
The two rose at 4:00 a.m. and drove to Charlestown in their luxurious 40-foot Mountain Aire. Stanley, a 15-year-old boy who suffers from epilepsy, and his mom, Karolee, got on board, with Stanley sitting up front as Mike’s “co-pilot.”
Their destination was Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The Comprehensive Epilepsy Center there is one of the nation’s leading facilities. Stanley was scheduled to undergo tests to determine whether or not he would be a good candidate for surgery. Besides taking anti-seizure medication, he also has a vagus nerve stimulator that was implanted surgically in 2008. “It’s supposed to cut back on seizures, but Stanley has been having difficulties,” Karolee said. She hopes he’ll be able to have the surgery, which repairs the part of the brain from which his seizures originate. “They’re having a lot of success at Cincinnati,” she added.
Mike said that on the trip, he learned Stanley is “a history buff. He was looking around, asking questions, commenting on the old, historic homes and buildings in Cincinnati.” Continue reading “First Angel Wheels Mission Provides Hopeful Ride for Boy with Epilepsy”
This is a guest post by Emily Altmann, a senior communications major at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, serving as an intern with Mercy Medical Angels.
When Susie, a recent Angel Wheels patient, was diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma in August of 2010, options were limited for the 26-year-old, single mother of three.
Cholangiocarcinoma is a relatively rare bile duct cancer that affects the liver’s ability to drain bile into the small intestine. This type of cancer is typically diagnosed at its more advanced stages and is unresponsive to chemotherapy and radiation, leaving surgery as the only option.
For many years, Susie reported pain but was misdiagnosed. After the birth of her son and increasingly worse abdominal pains, doctors were able to remove her gallbladder and perform a second biopsy of the tumor. As it turns out, they said the cancer has likely been affecting her for the last three years.
“After talking with my oncologist and confirming that it was indeed cancer, we began searching for surgeons,” said Susie. “The surgeon most qualified here in El Paso unfortunately did not feel he could perform the surgery I needed, so I was referred to a doctor at MD Anderson.”
Continue reading “Eliminating Bumps in the Road”
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