Atlanta, GA,
11:30 AM

Shepherd Center Recipient of Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant

Shepherd Center and two other hospitals have been named recipients of Southwest Airlines’ grants for medical transportation.

Southwest Airlines announced that Shepherd Center, Emory University Hospital and Piedmont Hospital have been selected for the Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program for 2014.

"Partnering with these hospitals and organizations to provide hope for those dealing with serious illness is an honor for us," said Linda Rutherford, Southwest Airlines Vice President of Communication and Outreach. "It's touched our hearts to be able to connect our flights with the hospitals' care and see the amazing difference this unique program is making to families in our communities."

Southwest’s program provides the hospitals with complimentary, roundtrip airline tickets to people who are facing a serious injury or illness in the family and need to travel for specialized medical care. About half of all patients who undergo rehabilitation at Shepherd Center travel to Atlanta from outside the state. Patients may stay at Shepherd for four to six weeks, so it’s a relief for families to know they may be eligible for assistance through the Southwest program.

"We are grateful that Southwest chose to include Shepherd Center in its Medical Transportation Grant Program,” said Jon Roxland, senior major and planned gifts officer with Shepherd Center. “This program has been exceptionally valuable to many of Shepherd Center's patients and family members as it has provided them the flexibility to travel back and forth while supporting their loved ones at Shepherd Center. This medical transportation grant will be able to help so many more families over the weeks and months ahead."

This is the second year Shepherd Center has been selected for the grant. Shepherd Center received 100 round-trip passes (about a $40,000 value) from Southwest to be used by patients and family members traveling to or from Shepherd Center.

Overall, the grant includes:

  • More than $2.8 million in free flights in 2014 to patients and caregivers
  • 73 recipients, with an impact to 99 facilities in 2014
  • 33,000 tickets provided since the program's inception in 2007
  • $13.2 million in free transportation provided over the past seven years
  • 26 states with participating organizations
  • 26,000 patients whose lives have been touched

For more information on this grant program, click here.

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.