COLLIER COUNTY, FL - The Strauss family vacation was supposed to be a week spent on the beach on Marco Island.
"Normally we can swim everyday, and enjoy being outside, and that's her favorite thing is swimming," said Paula Strauss.
Instead, the Strauss family spent their vacation inside a hotel room at Physician's Regional Medical Center. Their 18 year old daughter, Maddie, has spina bifida and cerebral palsy. On their third day of vacation, Maddie became very sick. She's been at the hospital now for three and a half weeks fighting pneumonia and a bacterial infection.
"For her to get sick, I never would have thought she would have gotten sick so far away from home, she's been doing so well," said Strauss.
But the hospital is an acute care center, so they had to find somewhere else they could stay for long term treatment.
"We would have to be transferred to Tampa or St. Pete."
Instead a non-profit organization called Grace on Wings, offered to fly the family home. Since the trip isn't covered by insurance, all they needed was ten thousand dollars to pay for fuel. Money they didn't have. But a friend helped spread their story and the donations started coming in.
"In 48 hours, raised the money, this is unbelievable," said David Strauss.
"I didn't think that people were that good anymore. But they are. I'm just like so thankful."
The family leaves southwest Florida at noon on Tuesday. Maddie will continue to receive medical treatment at the Riley Hospital for Children in Indiana.