Seven years ago Tracey Brunner was told she might only have six months to live.
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But a volunteer-run flight service changed everything for the Dubbo mother-of-three.
"I look back now and I absolutely believe Angel Flight saved my life," said Ms Brunner.
In 2016, Ms Brunner was diagnosed with a Stage 4 melanoma which had spread to her lungs and brain. The only treatment option available at the time was a clinical trial at the Melanoma Institute in Sydney.
"I wasn't allowed to drive so my husband had to drive me and my mum used to have to come up from Forbes to babysit while we went to Sydney - it was exhausting for all of us," she said.
The stress of the long drives every fortnight almost led Ms Brunner to drop out of the trial, that is, until she was referred to Angel Flight - a charity service that coordinates flights to help people in regional areas access healthcare.
"From then on they had me there and back within a day - it was absolutely amazing. I could be home before the kids even got home from school sometimes," she said.
"It was one less thing I had to worry about - I'd just turn up at the airport when they told me to and they took care of the rest.
"I didn't have to stress about it so I only needed to stress about getting better."
For more than 20 years, Angel Flight's volunteer pilots have been transporting patients for treatment. Now, they're switching gears with a new service flying medical professionals where they're needed.
"Having a doctor in town gives people the comfort and confidence to know that if their baby is choking in the middle of the night, there's someone they can call," Angel Flight CEO Marjorie Pagani said.
"We started bringing the doctors out when we found that out at Collarenebri there hadn't been a doctor for several months because of the flooded roads.
"We're trying to populate western NSW with doctors and encourage them to stay because they'll have a regular, safe, efficient means of getting back home."
Despite the need, Angel Flight currently receives no state or federal government funding and relies on private donations.
To fund the new service, Angel Flight has teamed up with Your Jet Life to run a lottery, giving entrants an chance to win their own plane.
"We're hoping to place a new, top-of-the-market jet in every capital and Cairns and we're asking, for the very first time in 20 years, for government funding. And we're also running a lottery which will help fund these jets," said Ms Pagani.
Ms Brunner's cancer has been in remission for five years and she now runs a successful escape room business in Dubbo. While she no longer needs Angel Flight, she wants everyone to know about the service.
"I'm always putting my hand up to help Angel Flight out now, to spread awareness, because they're just such an amazing group of people," she said.
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