Hope Air

How we support

For children who require medical care beyond what their local physician can offer, distance and cost are significant barriers to accessing the care they need.

The gift of flight support from WestJet Cares for Kids connects these families to specialized medical expertise and technologies, removing barriers to accessing treatment. By supporting Hope Air, WestJetters allow patients and their families to focus on their health by providing efficient, comfortable, and stress-free travel. Better access means better health.

When Rowan was two years old he was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA), a chronic and painful disorder where Rowan’s immune system attacks cells and tissues in his joints. To get the specialized treatment Rowan needed, his family had to visit BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver every three months. The four-hour drive from their home in Kelowna was long and uncomfortable for Rowan. WestJet flights made the journey much shorter, easier, and more comfortable for him. “We couldn’t imagine not having Hope Air,” Rowan’s mom, Katie, says. “It’s honestly just been amazing.”.

 

When Logan was just over a year old, his parents, Cindy and Corey, found themselves taking him to the hospital quite frequently. In April 2012, their doctor in St. John’s sent them to Toronto for a diagnosis. What was only supposed to be a short trip to SickKids Hospital resulted in a 16-month stay. The doctors discovered Logan had an extremely rare immune system disorder and would need a bone marrow transplant. To make matters worse, Logan’s older brother, Jayden, was diagnosed with the same disease. The family moved to Toronto while they waited to find a bone marrow donor match for Logan. More than a year after the initial diagnosis, the family was able to move back home to St. John’s. However, in order to do so, they had to commit to going to Toronto every two to four months for Logan and Jayden’s appointments. “Without Hope Air and WestJet this would not have been possible! They gave our family hope and security and relieved so much stress from our lives,” says Cindy.

 

From the moment they were born, Hunter and Lilley needed medical care. Hunter needed heart surgery to close a blood vessel that should normally close on its own. Lilley was born eight weeks premature, and needed immediate surgery on her trachea and esophagus. Hunter and Lilley’s appointments meant the family had to make numerous trips from Prince George to Vancouver. With a WestJet flight, their travel time was reduced from nine hours in a car, to only an hour in the air. Hunter and Lilley’s mom, Amber, says, “I don’t know what we would have done without Hope Air. I don’t like asking for help, but I have to, and it’s amazing that there are people willing to give like this. I can’t even explain what it means to us.” Amber also appreciates WestJet’s support. “They have been wonderful too. They are always so helpful and welcoming.”

Initiatives

In celebration of Thanksgiving, WestJet and WestJet Cares for Kids charity partner, Hope Air, teamed up to help patient Leora Wildi say thank you to those who supported her throughout her health journey.

WestJet Thanks: Giving hope follows Leora, now 23, who was diagnosed with two types of bone cancer at the age of 14. Her cancer treatment caused serious and life-long complications that has required more than 50 trips from her hometown of Prince George, B.C., to Vancouver for specialized medical care.

Cancer-free for eight years and counting, Leora is now speaking out about how Hope Air and WestJet played an integral part in her recovery. While doing so, she is also able to thank some of those who helped her on her health journey by bringing them together for a very special day. To view the video, click here.

 

About Hope Air

Hope Air is the only national charity that provides Canadians in financial need with free travel to medical care far from home. Since our start in 1986, we have provided over 130,000 flights for clients travelling to vital healthcare appointments. Hope Air is proud to provide all flights completely free of charge in support of our goal of better access and better health. Visit www.hopeair.ca to learn more about Hope Air’s services.

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