Ford dealer joins new mobility effort to provide urgent transportation during pandemic
BOSTON — Ford dealer Jack Madden was moved to act when he heard about 11-month-old Sterling and his very difficult struggle with a rare birth defect called esophageal atresia. Madden became the first member of the "ground crew," a new mobility effort linking New England Ford dealers with Boston Children's Hospital and Angel Flight Northeast to provide urgent transportation assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This little boy has been through so much in his young life, I'm honored to be able to help," said Madden. "These community partnerships are so important and so valuable, they support all of us in times of need."
Madden recently pulled up to Boston Children's at the crack of dawn to pick up Sterling and his mom for a flight home to Texas. Sterling spent 82 days at the hospital, where he underwent numerous specialized surgeries. A commercial flight would be risky under normal circumstances, but during this time of COVID-19 the trip was out of the question.
Madden and his Ford Expedition took Sterling and his mom to the airport along with a load of essential medical supplies, including an oxygen concentrator and ventilator. Volunteer pilot Charlie Tillitt and his plane from Angel Flight provided the ride. Sterling's primary care nurse from the hospital helped gather up and load the equipment. Sterling and his mother flew back to Texas, where family members were awaiting their arrival.
This is one example of how Ford Motor Company and Ford Fund—the company's philanthropic arm—are working together with community partners to make people's lives better during the current COVID-19 crisis.
Ford and Ford Fund are contributing $210,000 to help Boston and communities throughout New England meet emergency needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant helped make Sterling's ride home possible.
Ford Fund is providing support to the Boston Children's Hospital Blood Donation Center. The unprecedented COVID-19 public health crisis has forced cancellation of blood drives in New England and across the country at a time when demand for blood is critical.
The Ford Fund grant is also benefitting the hospital's Every Child Fund, which provides support for caregivers on the front lines along with emergency assistance to low-income families, including access to food.
"We are so grateful to Ford Motor Company Fund and the New England Ford Dealers for providing emergency relief funding to Boston Children's Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Sandra L. Fenwick, CEO, Boston Children's Hospital. "The crisis has significantly increased the urgent needs at the hospital affecting every department and program. Children and families need us—now more than ever. Funding from the Ford Fund comes at a vital time."
Ford Motor Company is also pitching in to help Angel Flight Northeast provide more free air and ground transportation during the pandemic. Angel Flight is mobilized to deliver COVID-19 test kits, masks, blood and donated organs to hospitals, while continuing to transport critically ill patients to medical centers for treatment.
"We are profoundly grateful to Ford as well as New England Ford Dealers for supporting our mission and becoming our new partner," said Larry Camerlin, president and founder, Angel Flight Northeast. "As a leader in charitable medical air and ground transportation, Ford's support is vital to our ongoing COVID-19 Response Program. This will ensure that all patients in need—especially those families in underserved communities throughout New England—have mobile access to life-saving medical care in this heightened time of need."
In addition, the Greater Boston Food Bank is part of the Ford COVID-19 Donation Match program and has the potential to raise an additional $30,000 for the food bank. You can contribute by following the donation match link above.
Ford Fund is working with Ford dealers and nonprofits in communities across the United States to provide critical assistance to people coping with COVID-19 related issues. To date, Ford Fund has invested nearly $2.5 million to support local organizations in their efforts to meet urgent community needs.
"We are so thankful for the dedication of the courageous workers who are on the job—day and night—to help people in our community through this unprecedented health crisis," said Melissa Sullivan, Boston regional manager, Ford Motor Company. "Our community is truly stronger when we all pull together."
To learn more about Ford Fund's response to COVID-19 and ways you can help, visit fordfund.org/covid19.