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Hope Air

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

WestJet Boeing MAX 8 aircraft flying over Toronto Canada

How we support

Through the gift of flight, WestJet helps Canadians connect children and their families to specialized medical care, removing barriers to accessing treatments for cancer, heart disease, arthritis and many other health issues. By providing efficient, comfortable and stress-free travel, Hope Air and WestJet allow patients and their families to focus their energy on their health.

Initiatives and highlights

WestJet Thanks: Giving hope

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 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.

Travelling to Vancouver to help treat a chronic and painful disorder

A chiled named Rowan on a plane next to a window

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 was required to visit B.C. 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."

Flying from Prince George to treat her inflammatory disease

When Kalena was seven years old, she was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease that causes irritation, inflammation and painful ulcers in the lining of the large intestine.

Kalena’s treatment meant returning to the hospital for up to three days every eight weeks. The 12-hour drive between Prince George and Vancouver is long and particularly uncomfortable for a child who is not feeling well. Thankfully, the hospital staff told Kalena’s mom, Kathy, about Hope Air.

“Our experiences have always been amazing. WestJet took really good care of us, and we just couldn’t have done it without Hope Air,” says Kathy. Thanks to Hope Air and WestJet, Kalena was able to access her regular treatments and is now in remission.

Helping a young boy travel from Kelowna for chemotherapy

One day when Henry was too tired to play, his mother took him to the local hospital. Mom, Bristol, was heartbroken to learn that her eight-year-old boy had leukemia. Then they were told they would have to travel to regular chemotherapy treatments in Vancouver  a ten-hour round-trip drive away from their home in Kelowna, B.C. She didn’t have the means to fly him regularly to care, so she contacted Hope Air for help. After many flights with WestJet to his treatments, Henry is now in remission, but he will still need to travel to Vancouver every three months for the next four years. “With Hope Air, we were able to come home in between chemo treatments,” says Bristol. “Driving such a long distance would have been too much for Henry during that time.

"My son Reed was born with a double inlet left ventricle (DILV), meaning half a heart. The doctors told me that without surgery he wouldn’t live to be ten days old. The whole thing was a blur. At first, it didn’t even register that I would need to travel to Edmonton. I just knew that whatever he needed, I was willing to do. I started renting a car and driving back and forth, but costs added up quickly and winter conditions made for unsafe and long trips. Then, Hope Air and the WestJet Cares for Kids program stepped in.
I grew up flying with WestJet and have continued to fly with them as my airline of choice. You can tell they are genuine people and are very personable. They have been amazing with us. I even bought Reed a toy WestJet plane because he loves watching airplanes in the sky."
 Hope Air aid recipient Courtney, Calgary resident and single mother of Reed (now 5 years old)

About Hope Air

Hope Air is Canada’s only national charity providing free travel and accommodations for Canadians in financial need who must access medical care far from home. Since its inception in 1986, Hope Air has provided more than 155,000 travel arrangements for patients inclusive of all ages and medical needs.

For people living on a low income in small and rural communities, distance and cost are very real barriers to accessing vital medical care. Hope Air is a unique and essential part of our Canadian healthcare system. Without the access Hope Air provides, our national system of universal healthcare coverage would fall short of its promise.

Hope Air articles from our Newsroom

Get to know our other national partners

WestJet’s national partners are charity organizations that serve communities and families across Canada and the world.

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LiveDifferent offers dynamic school presentations, gap-semester experiences and engaging our employees through the WestJet LiveDifferent Builds program.

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The Canadian Cancer Society is a national, community-based organization of staff and volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer.

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