BELTSVILLE, Md. (WJZ/AP) — A former Maryland teacher who went on an Alaskan cruise in April has been stuck in Anchorage ever since, because she was diagnosed while there with a terminal illness that made her too weak to fly home.
But now, thanks to the generous donations made by people who heard her story, 71-year-old Nancy Greathouse will head home as early as Wednesday.
Nancy and her husband Paul went to Alaska on a two-week cruise in the spring. On April 28, she suffered a respiratory crisis and was taken via medevac from the cruise ship to a hospital in Juneau. Then she spent two months at a hospital in Anchorage.
She was diagnosed with terminal cancer, along with an autoimmune disease flare-up.
She wants to live out her remaining days at home in Beltsville, Md., but doctors told her she wasn’t well enough to fly a commercial flight.
But a GoFundMe page raised enough money for her to take a medical evacuation flight, which could cost $50,000.
“This was their lifetime cruise. They were celebrating engagements, they were celebrating retirement and life. And she got very sick in Alaska and had to be medevacked to Anchorage,” said Fresia Kelley, Nancy’s daughter-in-law.
“So this seemed like an impossibility. They were beginning to look into finding an apartment or finding a skilled care facility that she could live out the rest of her days in Anchorage,” said pastor of visitation Bob Prescott.
Sunday, Nancy’s pastor challenged the church to pray for a miracle and everything started to fall into place.
An Alaskan newspaper caught wind of Nancy’s story and donations started pouring in.
“Two weeks ago we thought: where are we gonna get this money from?” Kelley said.
In three days, with a whole lot of prayer and the generosity of hundreds, Nancy had enough for the $64,000 air ambulance flight back to Maryland.
“Honestly, I could cry. Because it’s so exciting seeing god move,” said Pastor Estelle Cyrus.
The online fundraiser for Nancy is at more than $60,000 and growing. Her medical flight is set to land at BWI around 11 p.m. Wednesday.
Grace Point Church of the Nazarene in Severn held a prayer service in Nancy’s honor Wednesday at 7 p.m.
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