Charity Spotlight: This post was provided by Navjot Bhullar and Sharmeen Kabir, volunteers for Hope Air, as part of our ongoing charity spotlight series.
When you’re sick, where do you go? What if the nearest hospital or specialist was 400km away and you couldn’t afford a plane ticket? Instead, you’d have to travel by car or bus for hours while coping with intense pain, or with a spouse or child who is recovering from serious treatment.
Canada’s vast distances are one of the last great barriers to healthcare. Individuals living outside of Canada’s major urban centres often must travel thousands of miles at great cost and stress to access specialized medical care. With Hope Air’s assistance, we can help bring individuals to the care they need.
Great doctors and equipment are only useful if people can access them. As the only national charity that provides free flights for Canadians who are in financial need and must travel to access care, the work done by Hope Air is unique. Hope Air steps in during a critical time in a person’s life, when the dual barriers of distance and financial need weigh heavily.
One client we’ve helped, Doug, suffers from Becker’s Muscular Dystrophy, a debilitating disorder that causes muscle weakness in the legs and pelvis. Doug can’t ride in cars or buses, but he must travel annually from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario to the Neuromuscular Clinic at the McMaster University Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario to see his doctor for treatment.
Doug’s only options were to spend money he didn’t have on a flight, or forego treatment – a choice we don’t think any Canadian should have to make.
Our Greatest Challenge
Our mission is to provide free flights to individuals and families who cannot afford the cost of travel to access medical care that is often not available in their home communities. To ensure that we can help as many Canadians as possible, Hope Air operates three different flights programs: Flight Purchase Program, Commercial Airline Donation Program, and Volunteer Pilot Program.
Currently, 70 per cent of the flights we arrange are purchased with funds we acquire through the support of our generous donors, while remaining flights are kindly donated by our airline partners and provided by our volunteer pilots. The demand for our services continues to increase – in 2013 alone we saw an increase of 16 per cent – but the donations we receive can’t always keep up.
Hope Air is not an airline, it’s a lifeline. In our 25 year history, we’ve provided more than 85,000 free flights to children and adults across the country. We must continue to raise money to ensure that we can maintain providing flights to those Canadians who are most in need of our help.
Hope Air is a national charity that helps Canadians get to the medical treatment they require when they cannot afford the cost of an airline ticket. Learn more about Hope Air on their charity profile page >>>