ONLY ON 8: Strangers turned friends after tragedy

LAS VEGAS - Some people can make miracles happen and for one family, it meant more than they'll ever know.

A non-profit called Miracle Flights is helping families reunite after 1 October.

Throughout the past few weeks, southern Nevada has seen the long lines of people waiting to donate blood and the stories about heroes who shielded their loved ones from gunfire. 

"There's no doubt in my mind that the generosity and the good that exists in this community would come to the forefront," said Mark Brown, CEO of Miracle Flights. 

Brown grew up in Las Vegas. 

"This is our community. We've been here for 32 years. I was raised here and so there was no doubt that we had to do something," Brown said. 

Miracle Flights is a non-profit organization providing free commercial air travel to those who may need access to specialized, distant medical care to treat their injuries after October 1, they are also working to reunite families. 

Through Miracle Flights, Brown was able to fly Jonathon Thomas to Las Vegas from California to see his cousin at Sunrise Hospital.

Brown and Thomas met for the first time on Friday.

"In this really just awful, awful thing that's happened, everybody has become stronger as a community and its brought out the best in everyone," said Thomas. 

His cousin, 34-year-old Kristina Staples, is still in a coma. 

"She's been a huge fighter in this entire process," Thomas said. "She's been progressing, and the doctors have been continuing to help identify key areas to help her improve and to help her move along."

Thomas and Brown now share a unique bond, they are two strangers turned friends after tragedy. 

"When I came to the hospital yesterday morning, I went to hold my cousin's hand and she held on, she grabbed it and she wouldn't let go," he said. "I cannot recall the last time that I've had that close of a connection to any of my cousins or any of my siblings."

Brown says he knows many victims will require extensive, ongoing medical treatment. The organization intends to help those individuals get the care they need, wherever it may be, for as long as necessary.


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