A San Diego woman learned heartbreaking news while living abroad that left her stranded, and now her family is trying to raise enough money to bring her home.
Five tumors were found on Kristen Dineen’s brain during a chance CT scan on September 19, according to her family.
Kristen was living in Bali, a province of Indonesia, and her oncologist said it would be best for her to return home.
The largest mass was nearly two inches in length, and it was pressing onto the front of her skull, the family said.
However, because of her brain tumors, she wasn’t allowed to take a commercial flight back to America due to the pressure of the masses, according to the family.
In order to fly home safely, Kristen would need a private medical evacuation.
Due to complications, Kristen was airlifted from Bali to Singapore on the Saturday after her diagnosis. This added significant cost and delay to her family’s plan to bring her home.
A representative from AeroCare, an air ambulance service, spoke with NBC 7 about these evacuations and what would be needed for a trip like Kristen’s.
A basic flight from Bali to America was estimated to cost $180,000. With AeroCare’s largest plane, Gulf Stream IV, the trip would cost more than $350,000, the representative said.
The medical aircrafts can only travel a few thousand miles at a time, according to AeroCare’s website. The distance from Bali to San Diego is almost 9,000 miles.
Kristen’s trip would include a few stops and international fees. Each takeoff and landing can negatively affect a patient, so crews try to limit as many as possible, AeroCare said.
The medical planes are pressurized to be around sea level inside the cabin.
They would also only fly at around 25,000 feet to keep as little change as possible for Kristen, according to AeroCare. A typical commercial flight cruises anywhere from 30,000 and 40,000 feet.
Usually, when a U.S. citizen is flown to America from another country, a U.S.-based aircraft will perform the entire trip, said the representative. So, scheduling the flight may take extra time.
While most evacuations can be planned within a day, a trip like Kristen’s may take up to four days, according to AeroCare.
Kristen’s family hosted a fundraiser Monday at Mas Fina Cantina in Carlsbad from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. to afford the medical evacuations. Hundreds were expected to attend.
They also created a GoFundMe campaign.
Within three days, the family raised nearly $130,000, 87 percent of their goal.
Her dad flew out to meet her Monday, while her mother and sister hosted the fundraiser in Carlsbad, her sister, Jenn, told NBC 7.
The GoFundMe page was shared thousands of times on Facebook and has dozens of supportive comments.
Kristen was diagnosed with and beat Melanoma in her early twenties, the campaign page said.