Program providing free flight to patients in need comes to Upshur County

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BUCKHANNON, W.Va. – Gary and Inis Evans said its been a rough year for them, after Inis was diagnosed with a type of stage 4 lung cancer in January.  But doctors in the area didn’t have the capability to provide her treatment, so they were forced to look elsewhere.

“Nothing they could do here, so we started looking at different places to go.  We found a big hospital in Houston, Texas, and so the issue was getting her there,” said Gary Evans.

That issue was solved by Patient Airlift Services, or PALS, an organization out of New York that provides flights to patients in need for lifesaving treatments around the country. Their first flight with the organization took them to that doctor in Houston, and since then has taken them to Boston to continue her care.  The Evanses said they would have been lost without the help PALS has provided.

“If they give you a prognosis that they can’t do anything at all, I mean, you’ve lost all hope.  But then the hope comes whenever these people say ‘I can fly you, and I can fly you free to anywhere you want to go,'” said Inis Evans.

The PALS pilots are all volunteer, and Gary and Inis said they’ve gotten to know the couple they’ve flown with, and they appreciate the service they provide.  But more than just a simple flight, they said the burden that PALS takes off their shoulders means that both they and other West Virginia families can find help when its most needed.

“Charles Dickens once said in his novel ‘A Tale of Two Cities,’ it’s the best of times, and the worst of times.  Well you know what?  In the worst of times, this is the best of times that we can get good news and help lots of times for people who don’t have any help anywhere else and can’t afford to fly,” said Gary Evans.

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