The couple eventually made it to their clinical trial at Stanford University Medical Center, which is Blume's last shot at treatment for her cancer, according to Stranathan. Her condition is now critical, and she requires constant oxygen to breathe. The former waitress has exhausted all radiation and chemotherapy therapies and hopes to get some benefit from a new antidepressant that has shown promise in treating her small-cell cancer type.
In an email to US Airways, Stranathan wrote about their trial and the dashed plans: "... if it didn't work we were considering palliative care and getting her back to New York to be with family. Do you really feel $50.00 is compensation for being separated from family in your final months?
"Your whole Twitter page is pink for breast cancer month, but your employees treat people with lung cancer and compromised immune systems like they are lepers. No one deserves cancer or to be treated the way we were the first day of this ordeal."
Christie said the airline, "tried to work with her," trying to find additional batteries and eventually flying her back to Newburgh "for no additional fee."
"We wish the best for Ms. Blume in her cancer treatments," he said.
In 2009, Stranathan was diagnosed with non-small-cell adenocarcinoma, a much more treatable cancer that has responded to radiation and chemotherapy. He has been taking the oral medication Tarceva and his cancer remains stable. Blume, on the other hand, has three lesions on her brain and a large-cell lesion on her breast.
The couple, both divorced and with adult children, met on the health and wellness website Inspire.
The couple credits LUNGevity as lung cancer survivors helped to bring their frustration to the attention of airline officials.
"I got updates all over Facebook and Twitter from Don about all the difficulties they were having and my heart just broke for them," said Katie Brown, director of support and advocacy for the foundation LUNGevity..
"I wanted to help," said Brown. "The only way I knew how to do that was to repost their story and hope that it would get some attention and someone would help them get to their destination safely."