DALLAS, Feb. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) announced today that 73 nonprofit hospitals and medical organizations from across the nation have been selected for the Southwest Airlines 2014 Medical Transportation Grant Program, with the total impact touching 99 facilities. Through the program, participating nonprofit hospitals and medical programs can provide complimentary, roundtrip airline tickets to families who are facing serious illness and need to travel for specialized medical care. Being able to fly for free to receive the best medical treatment available eases the financial burden on families, giving those who are already facing so much one less thing to worry about. In 2014, Southwest will provide more than $2.8 million in free transportation to caregivers and patients seeking medical treatment. For a full list of 2014 participants, please visit www.southwest.com/medicalgrant. "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." Since the Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program's inception seven years ago, more than 33,000 tickets, totaling $13.2 million in free transportation, have been distributed to organizations in 26 states, making a positive difference in the lives of more than 26,000 patients. The program is making a difference in Toby Shaw's life. Toby battles arthrogryposis, which affects the joints in his arms and wrists. Through the Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program, he's able to travel from his home in Ohio to Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia to receive the best treatment available for his condition. Visit the NUTS About Southwest blog to see Toby's story, hear directly from one family who benefitted from the program, and read about the experiences of other patients and families who have been recipients. "I'm grateful our hospital is able to partner with Southwest Airlines to provide Toby and so many other patients like him the best treatment for their conditions," said Dr. Dan Zlotolow, Orthopedic Surgeon at Shriners Hospital for Children. "Together, we are able to offer our patients a long-term treatment plan without worrying about the burden of travel costs." One new community that will benefit from the 2014 Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program is San Diego, with first-time recipients Scripps Health and Rady Children's Hospital joining other world-renowned hospitals such as The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and Shriners Hospitals for Children. To learn about qualifications for travel assistance through the designated organizations, please contact the Social Work, Travel/Concierge Service, or Patient Assistance Department directly at each location, as each has unique guidelines for the administration of tickets.
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