Research has shown that giving to others can lead to a healthier, happier, and longer life. Generous behavior reduces depression and risk of suicide in adolescents. Volunteerism on the part of older adults significantly reduces mortality. Giving to others enables people to forgive themselves for mistakes — a key element in well-being.
One way to have a lot of fun on the Internet and get a health boost while doing so is to log on to a cool site called Kiva. For as little as $25.00, ordinary people like you and me can be part of the worldwide microloan (or microcredit) community. Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*
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When it comes to facilitating transportation for wounded military personnel and their families, US Airways tops the generosity list, providing about $1 million in complimentary plane tickets/year. Steve Craven, a volunteer pilot with Mercy Medical Airlift, sat next to me en route to a recent Red Cross volunteer recognition ceremony at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He told me about the great lengths that some airlines will go to to help military families in need. For example, United Airlines and Delta Airlines have both recently offered assistance with the transportation of military personnel to cancer centers of excellence. Sadly, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, and Southwest Airlines have repeatedly turned down requests for assistance.
According to Mr. Craven, his organization coordinates about 25,000 Angel Flights, 10,000 cancer-related flights, and 6,000 Iraq war veteran flights (via Air Compassion for Veterans) per year, with over 7,000 volunteer angel pilots nationwide. Mercy Medical Airlift also runs a National Patient Travel Center which acts as a clearing house/military travel agency for charitable ticket programs, air ambulance discounts, and special lift programs – including transportation to the NIH for clinical trials.
I asked Mr. Craven what sort of patients need the air ambulance service. He responded that often times elderly veterans or military personnel with terminal illnesses wish to die at home (rather than in a specialty hospital or facility) but are too sick to travel in a regular airplane. The air ambulance service allows them to fulfill their last wish and die with dignity.
Sometimes, military families have a very sick child and have exhausted their resources but need specialty treatment at an academic center. Mercy Medical Airlift makes sure they get where they need to go. Once there, the families often stay at Ronald McDonald House or Fisher House. We’re so grateful to our partner airlines who make it possible for military families to stay together in times of medical hardship.
I offer my thanks to US Airways for their generosity to military personnel and their families – as a rehab physician, I know how much it means to them to have their family with them in sickness and in health.
Secretary Robert Gates Addresses The Red Cross At Walter Reed