Last year, Hope Air provided over 900 flights to people in Northern Ontario who were in need of medical services far away from home. For those who live in small and rural communities where specialized medical care is not available, a trip to see a medical specialist might involve a 16-hour car or bus ride.
Hope Air is the only national charity arranging free flights to low-income patients that need to travel for medical care. Since 1986, Hope Air has provided over 130,000 flights to patients in need. The organization relies on financial donations, the support of commercial airlines and a dedicated group of volunteers to provide these critical services.
“We believe that where you live in Canada and how much money you make should not determine your ability to access medical care,” says Chief Executive Officer Doug Keller-Hobson. “For people who need medical care far from home, travel to get there can be a huge financial burden. That’s where we come in. Hope Air isn’t an airline, it’s a lifeline.”
Allie was diagnosed with a brain tumour when she was just five years old. Her family lives in New Liskeard and needed to travel weekly to Toronto for treatment. Another patient, Rob was enjoying life in Timmins when he was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer that required robotic surgical treatment. Both Allie and Rob were helped with their travel through Hope Air.
Rob Trahan, of Timmins, Ontario applauds the charity that helps those in need of specialized medical care.
Rob always loved the great outdoors. He felt truly blessed that he could live and raise a family in Timmins, a tight knit community in Ontario’s north. But when he was diagnosed with late stage prostate cancer four years ago, he didn’t realize how living 700 km from Toronto would make his life more difficult.
“I love to be outside paddling, hunting, fishing or taking pictures,” says Rob. “I cherish being able to enjoy nature with my family but access to the specialized robotic treatment I needed would mean regular trips to Toronto, so for the first time the fact that we lived in this beautiful part of the world meant we were at a disadvantage.”
Driving the 10 hours back and forth to Toronto was difficult. Being the sole earner for his family of 7, he didn’t have the luxury of not working. “I worried if we could afford it, whether the car travel would be hard on my health and recovery, whether we would have to sell our house and move,” says Rob.
Enter Hope Air. “I picked up a brochure in the waiting room of Princess Margaret Hospital and read through it. I then contacted them and a great group of volunteers helped me apply.” Within 3 weeks Rob was flying to his appointments free of charge. Hope Air is the only national charity arranging free flights for low-income patients that need to travel far from home for health care services. Since its inception in 1986, Hope Air has provided over 130,000 flights to patients in need.
The organization relies on donations, the support of commercial airlines and a dedicated group of volunteers to provide these critical services.
In the last year alone, Hope Air provided over 900 flights to clients from Northern Ontario.
“Flying me back and forth meant a lot of what I worried about went by the wayside. I could now focus on my health and recovery,” continues Rob. Rob says he wants everyone to know about this great charity and to advise those that are in need to consider applying. “Many don’t know this is available. I am doing this to help spread the word about this great organization.”
For now, Rob is in remission and visits to Princess Margaret Hospital are less frequent. In the meantime, life is busy for this family who are happy they were able to continue living in a place they love.
“For us, home is really where the heart is,” concludes Rob.