Hope Air

How we support

For people who require diagnosis and treatment beyond what their physician can offer, cost and distance are very real barriers to accessing specialized medical expertise and technologies. Gift of flight support from WestJet Cares for Kids allows Hope Air to remove these barriers and arrange free flights for low-income Canadians who need to travel to medical care.

For many Hope Air Clients, a WestJet flight removes the barriers of accessing treatment and takes the stress out of going to appointments. WestJetters allow Hope Air Clients to focus on getting better by providing exceptional service and by going above and beyond to make sure every flight is safe and stress-free.

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

WestJet believes that everyone should get to travel for fun, not just necessity. On April 25 and 26, 2014, WestJet Cares for Kids treated five Hope Air families to a special trip to Toronto. The weekend in Toronto allowed the families to spend quality time together, make memories, enjoy the sights, shop, and of course take in a Toronto Blue Jays™ game.

The weekend was filled with lots of laughter and good times spent together, memories that we hope these families will fondly remember the next time they board a flight for a medical appointment.

 

About Hope Air

Hope Air is the unique national charity that arranges free flights for Canadians who are in financial need and must travel to healthcare. Since our start in 1986, we have provided over 100,000 flights for Clients travelling to vital healthcare appointments far from home. Hope Air is proud to provide all flights to Clients completely free of charge in support of our goal of Getting Canadians To Getting Better. Visit www.hopeair.ca to learn more about Hope Air’s services.

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