Strangers raise $10K to fly Indianapolis girl back home from Florida

Strauss is stable at Riley

INDIANAPOLIS - An Indianapolis teen was recovering at Riley Hospital for Children on Tuesday after spending a month stranded in southwest Florida.

Madison Strauss, 18, and her family were on vacation when she suddenly became very sick. 

Strauss has spina bifida and cerebral palsy and spent the past month in a Naples, Fla. hospital.

The only way to get her back to Indianapolis was via air ambulance, a very expensive option.

Her family’s insurance would not pay the $30,000 cost for an air ambulance, but a non-profit organization called Grace on Wings offered to do it for $10,000 – the cost of the fuel.

A Fort Myers, Fla. TV station told Strauss’ story and compassionate Floridians quickly raised the money.

“I’ve always known that Maddie touches people, everyone she meets and makes them smile when they’re having a bad day, but I never imagined she would touch so many hearts,” said mother Paula Strauss.

Strauss’ flight arrived in Indianapolis earlier Tuesday evening.

“She’s under the care of our critical care team and the other medical specialists at Riley, and right now she’s in serious condition, but stable,” said Dr. Paul Haut.

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