Hope Air celebrates its 30th anniversary in style
By Matt Nicholls
For the past three decades, Toronto-based Hope Air has provided Canadians in need with free flights to individuals and families who cannot afford the cost of travel to access medical care.
By Matt Nicholls
Since 1986, the aviation charity has arranged more than 109,000 flights to those in need, and last night it was time to celebrate the organization’s amazing achievement. The entire Hope Air team, including Board members, sponsors, pilots and many Canadians in need who have benefitted from this necessary charity were on hand at Toronto’s quaint Jane Mallett Theatre for some music, food, heart-felt testimonials and more – all in celebration of a truly wonderful cause.
Bridging the gap for those who could not afford the price of a ticket is what inspired Joan Rogers, a Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital volunteer and Jinnie Bradshaw, a marketing specialist with Air Canada, to launch Mission Air Transportation Network in 1986. Rogers, who sadly passed away in 2011, had grown weary of seeing cancer patients from the east coast arriving for treatment after spending 15 to 20 hours on a bus.
Modelled after the U.S.-based Corporate Angel Network, which uses corporate aircraft to get cancer patients to treatment, Mission Air made its first flight on November 8, 1986. In that year, the organization completed 66 flights, using airplanes supplied by corporate partners. (The company was re-branded Hope Air in 1999.) Both women were honoured last night with stirring video tributes.
“Our clients live long distances from the vital healthcare they need. When you’re ill, worrying about how you will manage a painful, hours – a long bus ride to get specialized care – is a burden that we believe Canadians shouldn’t have to bear. But for many low-income Canadians, this is reality they face – the financial cost of being sick and getting to treatment is huge for many families and adds to an already stressful situation,” Hope Air’s executive director Keller-Hobson, who co-hosted the event last night, said.
Hope Air’s client surveys show that many clients would cancel or reschedule their appointments, postponing vital medical treatment that can have a significant impact on their health. Fortunately, many Canadian pilots and airlines have stepped in over the years to ensure Canadians in need of flights get to where they need to go, helping to allay the fears and concerns of family members.
Last night’s celebration did a wonderful job of highlighting the importance of this incredible national charity, highlighting the truly amazing individual accomplishment of so many Canadians who have helped make Hope Air a success. Wings is proud to highlight this incredible achievement. For more on this achievement, check out the Nov/Dec issue of Wings Magazine.