Chula Vista

Ambulance Company Helps Hospital Patient, 12, Get Home for the Holiday

Ambulance company's program helps hospital patients reunite with their families during the holidays

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Meliena Pillai has not been home for almost 2 years. The 12-year-old suffers from cerebral palsy and getting around is very difficult. Meliena can’t move on her own. She can’t talk. She’s completely dependent on others.

I have to cherish the moment

Janess Pallai

“It was hard taking care of her but at the same time, I miss it because it was my everyday life,” said a teary-eyed Janess Pillai, Meliena’s mother.

Meliena moved into the Helen Bernardy Center for Medically Fragile Children at Rady Children’s Hospital at the beginning of 2018. It makes gathering as a family during the holidays very difficult.

That’s where American Medical Response comes in. Every year, the ambulance company reunites families for free during the holidays through its Sentimental Journey program. Meliena’s family was chosen this year. An ambulance picked her up at the hospital and drove her to the family’s Otay Ranch home where family and friends were waiting.

“I know that this is probably one of the last times that I will have her home, so I have to cherish the moment,” said Janess.

Unfortunately, Meliena’s condition is so fragile, she can only spend a couple of hours away from the hospital.

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