Hope Air

Hope Air helps patients across Columbia Basin

Hope Air provides free flights and accommodation for patients seeking medical care

“There are not many words to express my gratitude! Thank you for caring and going above and beyond—literally!!!! I am forever grateful to Hope Air.”

These are the types of comments Hope Air receives from people around Canada, including in the Basin—people who, with Hope Air’s support, have been able to receive vital medical care.

“Hope Air is Canada’s only national charity that provides free flights and accommodation—for patients of all ages and medical needs—so they can travel to medical care,” says Alanna Scott, Vice President of Development. “We focus on patients who are living on a low income who would have a challenge coming up with the funds to travel to the medical care that they need.”

The free flights and accommodation are possible thanks to partnerships with airlines, the Radisson Hotel Group and many donations and grants from individuals, corporations and foundations. The Columbia Basin Trust has been one of these partners since 2014.

One of the people in the Basin who has benefited is a woman named Kathryn.

Living in Salmo at the time, Kathryn was suffering from increasing memory loss and confusion and needed to travel to Vancouver for a diagnosis, which turned out to be vascular dementia.

“Hope Air offered support by paying for my daughter to accompany me and for arranging for accommodations,” she says. “I cannot tell you the ease and comfort I felt being supported. This was huge in my struggle for health and wellness.”

In small and rural communities, essential services may not be available. Therefore, many patients must travel long distances to obtain a diagnosis, get medical treatment or attend follow-up appointments.

“Even if you have great health care locally,” Scott says, “if you need to access a specialist, or specialized medicine, or a specialized machine, you’ll often have to travel to major cities.”

Without a free flight, a patient may be faced with an unwelcome choice: travel far by road, possibly in bad weather; incur debt to pay for a flight themselves; or postpone or cancel the appointment altogether, risking their health.

Another Basin patient, from Creston, needed care to treat eye cancer.

“Thank you for the seamless travel by air for medical appointments in Vancouver,” she says. “The fact that there was assistance with accommodations allowed me to relax as I anticipated my medical appointments.”

Since 1986, Hope Air has provided over 155,000 free flights throughout Canada.

In 2020, 397 of these were for people in the Basin, along with 91 nights of accommodation. The flights generally head to Vancouver, Kelowna or Calgary, and over the years have been required for issues like cancer, musculoskeletal disorders, injuries, cardiovascular disease and high-risk pregnancy.

Because of the pandemic, the 2020 numbers are lower than average, but Hope Air is still fully operational and helping patients reach care.

“There’s more virtual medicine, and some people are also a little reluctant to travel if they don’t have to,” says Scott.

But Hope Air’s services are still crucial for many—for example, people with cancer—“because they do need to get to medical care that cannot be done virtually and cannot be delayed until after the pandemic.”

Some air routes that have been cancelled because of the pandemic have proven a challenge. However, a number of people, especially those with compromised immune systems, have preferred to drive on their own anyways.

But, Scott says, “We are still providing accommodation regardless of whether they travel by air or not.”

And when restrictions lift and life restarts, Scott doesn’t think that Hope Air’s services will simply bounce back to their usual numbers—she thinks they’ll increase.

“Our mission is more critical than ever because the pandemic has affected so many families’ abilities to work and many, many Canadian’s incomes. This means that some people are going to be even less likely to be able to afford big costs for travel for medical care.”

Therefore, don’t hesitate to contact Hope Air if you’re in need.

“The Hope Air team was wonderful in the midst of a stressful time,” the Creston woman told Hope Air. “I will be recommending you to others, especially if they have to consider driving over five mountain passes in winter.”

To learn more and apply for a free flight and accommodation, visit hopeair.ca or call 1.877.346.HOPE (4673).

Read: Angel Flight East Kootenay begins trips from Nelson



sports@trailtimes.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Air passengersHealth

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Five-year-old Bayne Krause poses for a photo with his mom Marianne. Bayne’s shirt reads, ‘I have Cystic Fibrosis. Help keep me healthy, please social distance.’ Photo: Laurie Tritschler
West Kootenay mom promotes awareness of cystic fibrosis

Marianne Krause wants people to know what it’s like for her five-year-old son to live with CF

The higher elevation melt is getting underway as rivers such as Mark Creek in Kimberley are running faster. Paul Rodgers file
Snow packs down just below normal in East and West Kootenay

The West Kootenay in particular had below normal precipitation in April

Police are cautioning drivers to keep a sharp eye on the road after a Fruitvale man hit and killed an elk along Highway 2A near Trail. The driver was reported to be uninjured, though the car was significantly damaged. Photo: Nick Fewings on Unsplash
Heads up for wildlife warn police after crash with elk on West Kootenay highway

The accident happened in the early morning hours of April 30

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Interfor’s Castlegar mill is getting $35 million in upgrades. Photo by: John Boivin
Interfor to invest $35 million at Castlegar mill

Project will enhance productivity and competitiveness

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

RCMP officers search around rows of luggage carts as screens block off an area of the sidewalk after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Police say gang conflict in Metro Vancouver may be behind shooting death at airport

Police said this generation of gangsters is taking things to new level and have no regard for community safety

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Most Read