Frank can’t speak of his daughter Calli without breaking into tears. Diagnosed with Neuroblastoma (a cancer that forms in nerve tissue) when she was 12, the 20-year-old woman is still battling her disease but with an arsenal of love, a fighting spirit, and the best medical care in the world.

“I can’t tell you how much we appreciate Angel Airlines for Life,” Frank said. He was referred to the free airline transportation program by a resource specialist with the National Patient Travel Center. When her illness was first discovered, doctors sent her to the top children’s hospital in California, where she underwent several operations, chemotherapy and radiation. “We wanted to find therapies that were less toxic. Some of our options were horrific,” Frank said.

After attending a medical conference in Chicago, he learned of an innovative treatment at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.  When he called Angel Airlines for Life, a flight was booked for Calli and him to New York, where Calli began treatment at Sloan Kettering. This consisted of a less toxic and highly effective chemo combo. She also was enrolled in special clinical trials funded by the National Institutes of Health at Baylor and Texas Children’s Hospital.

“Angel Airlines flew us to Houston (Texas Children’s). Calli is the first person in the world to receive a new version of a genetically engineered vaccine,” [for Neuroblastoma] Frank said. He added that Calli had been in remission for four years but said the cancer returned a year and a half ago. During her most recent visit to Sloan-Kettering, “a spot showed up. We’ll keep an eye on it. This disease is notorious for coming back. But we are very hopeful things are working.”

Calli attends classes at a community college and is currently training for a triathlon. “She’s as tough as a combat soldier,” Frank said.