Passenger Stories

The Story of Marlin … from the Newsletter

AFSE Helps 8-Year-Old Deliver Christmas to Children’s Hospital

Eight-year-old Marlin H. liked everything about her recent experience with Angel Flight Southeast – except, in her words, “it was scary because there were 20 reporters and camera people who wanted to take my picture.”

Welcome to the world of the Papparazzi, Marlin.

Of course, the typical Angel Flight™ Southeast mission normally does not generate this type of publicity! The donation of a plane, fuel and time by the pilots who fly our missions makes every AFSE™ flight special; however, Marlin’s story was even more unique, because of what she did.

She gathered 3,460 new toys for her friends at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital of Tampa.

Marlin, who lives in Port St. Lucie on Florida’s east coast, is a bright and beautiful young lady who takes violin, guitar and karate lessons. She is a Junior Novice Cheerleader for the Treasure Coast All Stars and is on the Praise Team at Morningside Church.

Unfortunately, Marlin also recently became a patient of the “cool Dr. Rossbach” because she has a serious rare blood disorder called Mastocytosis.

In the fall, Marlin found out she would be fortunate enough to spend Christmas with her family at home, instead of in the hospital. But many of the young friends she had made at the famous facility would not be able to be home. Upon realizing this sad state of affairs, the precocious youngster swung into action.

She started with a small stash of toys in her closet, but soon Marlin had launched a major toy drive.

By the week before Christmas, the 3,460 new toys that had been donated by area friends and businesses were clogging every nook and cranny of her family’s home. It was time to play Santa! So, AFSE™ Chairman of the Board, Tom Powers, gladly took the role of Rudolph and sled.

There was no possibility of fitting all the toys in Tom’s plane — a U-Haul was driven by Dad Scott Hossler — but Tom did get the honor of flying Marlin and her Mom, Jo, from Stuart Jet Center across the state for their delivery.

In Tampa, AFSE™ Wing Leader, Susan Long, met them and escorted the procession via a donated ride from Allstar Limousine to the hospital where every local TV station and newspaper, including the National FOX News Network, was on hand to cover the story.