The Air Force Assistance Fund provides support through four Air Force charities: the Air Force Aid Society, the Air Force Enlisted Foundation Inc., the Air Force Village Indigent Widow’s Fund, and the General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation
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PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Back in 1987, my daughter Amanda was diagnosed with leukemia. I was an E-4 stationed at F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., as a member of the Security Police.
Amanda had to spend approximately one full month at Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center in Denver receiving treatment after she was first diagnosed. In those days, active duty servicemembers had to pay out of pocket for hospital stays at the rate of daily Basic Allowance for Subsistence. Once Amanda was released, she had to go through chemotherapy treatments every Wednesday at Fitzsimmons as well as receive spinal taps to determine her condition.
I did not know a lot about Air Force Aid back then, but funds were tight, so my first sergeant took me to Air Force Aid and helped me to get the paperwork started. I received grants so I could afford the gas to drive to Fitzsimmons and to pay for her hospital stay.
In 1988, I was transferred to Lowry AFB, Colo., and re-trained into the supply career field under “Children Have a Potential.” While I was there, Amanda was in and out of remission.
The doctor at Fitzsimmons decided it was best to have a bone marrow transplant done, but we were unable to find a close enough match. At that time there was an experimental procedure that could be accomplished where Amanda’s Bone Marrow could be extracted from her, cleansed and put back.
Air Force Aid again came to my assistance and paid that bill and did not ask for a cent in return.
Since this was experimental, it would not be covered by our military insurance but the doctor thought this was her best chance. Amanda was sent down to Dallas-Fort Worth, in 1989 to receive this procedure. She spent approximately three months in the hospital. Her medical bills were well above what I would have ever been able to afford to pay. The doctors themselves wrote off their portions of the bills, but one bill I was going to be stuck with was approximately $100,000.
Air Force Aid again came to my assistance and paid that bill and did not ask for a cent in return. A few months after Amanda returned home she relapsed again and the doctors could not do anything to help. Three weeks later in 1990 my daughter lost her fight and passed away. Air Force Aid, once again, along with the American Red Cross, came to my aid to assist in the cost of the burial.
For me, Air Force Aid became a way for Airmen to take care of each other. This charity is the most important charity that Air Force members can contribute to in order to take care of each and every member of our branch of service if and when they need assistance.
The Air Force Assistance Fund provides support through four Air Force charities: the Air Force Aid Society, the Air Force Enlisted Foundation Inc., the Air Force Village Indigent Widow’s Fund, and the General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation.