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Mom with Cancer Kicked Off Plane

The Short of It

Elizabeth Sedway of Granite Bay, Calif., was wearing a surgical mask when she boarded a plane in Hawaii to fly home with her family. The mom suffers from multiple myeloma, which is a type of cancer, and her immune system is compromised. The mask was meant to help her avoid germs.

The Lowdown

At the gate, when an Alaska Airlines employee asked her if she needed help boarding, Elizabeth said, "Well, I might need a bit of extra time to board; sometimes I feel weak."

Elizabeth explains what happened next on her Facebook page: "After we board the plane, an Alaska representative boarded the plane and told us I could not fly without a note from a doctor stating that I was cleared to fly."

Elizabeth posted a video of the family being escorted off the plane, and it went viral—it's been watched over 97,000 times—and caused quite an uproar.

It doesn't seem clear where the line is drawn between who needs a doctor's note and who doesn't, but how she looked wearing a mask likely played a role. The mom was embarrassed by the incident, and it caused a major disruption to her and her family.

"I am scheduled for chemo, at home, on Tuesday and Wednesday," Elizabeth wrote. "Because of this, I will miss my chemotherapy, my children will miss school, and my husband will miss important meetings."

The Upshot

Elizabeth and her family caught a flight home the next day, and Alaska Airlines has issued them an apology.

Bobbie Egan, media relations director for Alaska Air told Yahoo Parenting: "We regret the inconvenience Ms. Sedway experienced [on Monday]. Her family's tickets have been refunded, and we'll cover the cost of her family's overnight accommodations in Lihue. Our employee had the customer's well-being in mind when we sought the advice of trained medical professionals."

And Elizabeth has found a way to turn the experience into something positive. She wrote on Facebook: "As with most unpleasant times, there are silver linings, if we're determined to find them. Here, we plan to donate the airfare, to be refunded by Alaska Airlines, to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation–MMRF. Additionally, this airline will likely look at future events of this kind with increased wisdom and sensitivity."

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