Grace on Wings brings ailing Indiana girl back home

Paula Strauss welcomes daughter Maddie home
Published: .
Updated: .

The Fishers girl who faced a medical emergency while on vacation in Florida has just returned to Indiana - thanks to the grace of strangers.

Maddie Ross became critically ill and her family had to raise nearly $10,000 for a medical flight home.

A turbo prop plane nicknamed "Nellie" touched down at Indianapolis International Airport shortly after 4:00 pm.

"She's finally here. She got home safe. She's gonna be okay," said Paula Strauss, crying as the plane arrived.

Nearly a month had passed since 18-year-old Madison Ross, who was born with spina bifida and cerebral palsy, came down with pneumonia while on vacation in Florida.

"I just can't wait to see her," said her father, Steve Ross.

The family could not afford to keep Madison in the hospital in Florida, and they could not afford to fly her home.

They asked for donations, and their prayers were answered. Stepfather David Strauss was along for the ride.

"We were all blessed to finally get home," he said, referring to the past month as challenging, stressful, scary and rewarding.

They needed $10,000 for fuel and medication. The flight was a donation by the Grace on Wings program, a non-profit based in Plainfield that specializes in providing medical flights for people who otherwise can't pay for them.

"It's amazing, what God enables us to do. This is a privilege for us to be able to do this, and to serve," said Grace on Wings pilot Hal Blank.

The ambulance ride to Riley Hospital from the airport was also donated.

"Physicians Regional was so wonderful. They saved her life. They took wonderful care of her, but there's no place like home," said Paula Strauss.