Hope Air

Take me out to the ball game!

Hope Air families make memories in Toronto with R.A. Dickie

WestJet Thanks: Giving Hope

We teamed up our WestJet Cares for Kids charity partner Hope Air to help Leora, say thank you to those who supported her throughout her health journey.

Flying for Fun!

WestJet Cares for Kids hosts five Hope Air families to a special trip to Toronto

How we support

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.

The gift of flights from WestJet Cares for Kids connects these families to specialized medical expertise and technologies, removing barriers to accessing treatments for cancer, heart disease, arthritis and many other health issues. By supporting Hope Air, WestJetters allow patients and their families to focus on their health by providing efficient, comfortable and stress-free travel.

In Canada, more than 10 million people live outside large cities with specialized hospital care such as Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, and more than 30 per cent of the population requires a visit to a medical specialist. If a child has cancer and needs to travel once a month for treatments several hours from home, it’s a huge

burden on the family. The child must take time off school, the parent must take time off work and they both spend a lot of time away from the family. If they drive or take a bus, it can take four to 12 hours or more each way – and the discomfort and stress is intense. A cost of a flight is out of reach for those on a lower income – let alone several flights.

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 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.”.

Flying from Prince George to treat her inflammatory disease 

Kalena smiling

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 every eight weeks. The trip from Prince George, B.C. to Vancouver includes driving through mountainous terrain that can be quite treacherous especially in the winter. The 12-hour drive would also be quite long for a child who is not feeling well and a visit for an appointment could spread over three days. Thankfully, 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 treatment and is now in remission.

Helping a young boy travel from Kelowna for chemotherapy

Henry and his mother

One day when Henry was too tired to play, his mother took him to the local hospital. 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-return 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 this time.”


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.

Hope Air logo

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.

For more information, visit hopeair.ca.

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WestJet Thanks: Giving Hope

This Thanksgiving we are giving thanks and hope.