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Flying for Her Life: Miracle Flights Helps Northern Nevada Teen Reach Life-Saving Care Far from Home

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Shannon Neal of Dayton, Nevada, used to cry after she put her daughter, Sierra, to bed. "I thought, what if I wake up and she's gone? I lived every day thinking she might die." But these are brighter days. This week, the Neals board their 7th Miracle Flight to the medical care that's saving Sierra's life.

Since birth, 13-year-old Sierra has battled a host of serious medical conditions: an autoimmune disease called alopecia areata, which attacks the hair follicles; severe eczema; asthma; and life-threatening food allergies so numerous Shannon carries a list to keep track. For years, Sierra bounced in and out of hospitals. She took 27 prescription pills a day. Sometimes Shannon had to call an ambulance when an allergic reaction sent Sierra into anaphylactic shock. Steroids made her swollen; alopecia left her hairless, her scalp covered with bald patches. Eczema caused skin infections so extreme, she was once hospitalized for a month.

"Even when I wasn't in the hospital, I felt too tired to do the things I like to do, like playing with my animals and cheerleading," says Sierra.

When Sierra was 8, a doctor in Reno suggested she see a specialist at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford, in Palo Alto, California—a distance that for Shannon seemed financially insurmountable. "There was no way I could afford to fly us there, and my car couldn't make the trip," she says. "I didn't know what we were going to do."

At the doctor's recommendation, Shannon contacted national nonprofit Miracle Flights for help. Miracle Flights provides free plane tickets to families like the Neals, who need financial assistance reaching medical care far from home.

On December 3, 2014, Shannon and Sierra boarded their first Miracle Flight to Lucile Packard. Five years later, Sierra has a full head of hair that's grown almost to her shoulders. Her skin is clear; she hasn't been in the hospital in over a year. And instead of taking 27 pills a day, she takes an injection twice a week.

"We got the best care ever," says Shannon. "Miracle Flights gave me the option to find care when there was nothing in my rural area. I can't imagine where we would be without them."

Shannon and Sierra now continue their medical journey with annual check-ups from a specialist in Las Vegas. They depart on their 7th Miracle Flight on Monday, January 20.

To help Sierra and other children reach the life-saving care they need, or to request a flight for a loved one, visit miracleflights.org.

About Miracle Flights

Miracle Flights is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides free medical air transportation to children and adults via commercial airlines throughout the United States. The organization, founded in 1985, has provided 129,703 flights and currently books more than 600 flights per month. To request a flight, learn more or donate, call 800-359-1711 or visit miracleflights.org. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.

Press Contact:   Erika Koff: (702) 261-0494 or 232580@email4pr.com

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SOURCE Miracle Flights