Passengers Raise $73,000 For Ailing 4-Year-Old
LONDON (AP) _ Passengers moved by the plight of a critically ill 4-year-old Israeli girl raised $73,000 in a spontaneous collection during a flight from Tel Aviv to London, an airline official said.
An employee of the Israeli airline El Al said the 450 passengers aboard Wednesday’s Flight LY315 passed the hat after hearing Maron Kadosh was flying to London for a possible liver transplant.
Maron’s mother, Tova, 29, told reporters: ″It is unbelievable. I cannot find words to thank the people for what they have done. It is a wonderful thing.″
She said the money would go toward medical expenses. Liver transplant surgery is not available in Israel.
Dr. Akiva Fradkin, a pediatrician traveling with Maron, said the 4-year-old has a ″very serious liver condition, and we believe the transplant is the last hope.″
However, Alan Gavurin, assistant administrator at King’s College Hospital in London, said the cause of the girl’s malfunctioning liver is yet not known.
Maron was taken by ambulance from Heathrow Airport to the hospital, where she was reported in stable condition. She was sitting up in bed and watching television Wednesday afternoon, Gavurin said.
Mary Curry, the hospital’s deputy administrator, said Maron would undergo tests before a decision is made on whether she would be a suitable candidate for a transplant.
The cost of the medical treatment was not disclosed, but Mrs. Curry said an Israeli charity, the Whole World Organization, has agreed to cover some expenses.
Foreigners must pay for medical treatment under Britain’s National Health Service unless they live in Britain or become sick while visiting.
The El Al employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said children gave their pocket money, while ″one or two very influential people on board, certain millionaires on board, gave heavily in a spontaneous movement of charity.″
He refused to disclose the identities of the millionaires or say how much they gave.
The flight was fully booked by Jews returning from the Passover holiday and Christians on their way home after celebrating Easter in Israel.
The collection, which included cash in various currencies, checks and pledges, began when passengers heard that Maron was on her way to London for the operation.