Financially needy breast cancer patients now have the opportunity to fly free to receive treatments or surgery and to attend breast cancer conferences. Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation has donated Air Miles to Hope Air, a non-profit organization dedicated to flying needy Canadians to reach health care.
“There is a horrendous, emotional challenge to having breast cancer, made more so when you need repeated flights over long distances to access care,” says founder and past president of Hope Air, Jinnie Bradshaw.
Ms. Bradshaw founded Hope Air over 15 years ago when she was a marketing executive at Air Canada and saw the need for using existing resources to help people access treatment away from home. Hope Air flies thousands of Canadians each year to essential medical care.
Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation was given the donated points and asked Hope Air to manage the flights for breast cancer patients. Patients are flown from their home communities using aeroplan Air Mile points.
“We are thrilled to help provide such an important and urgent service to breast cancer patients, said Carol Seidman, CEO of Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Wendy Herbert, 47, from Smithers, British Columbia knows the importance of travelling to receive breast cancer care. She has used Hope Air five times to travel to Vancouver to see her breast cancer specialist.
“I was very nervous that the flights wouldn’t come through, but each time they did. Not only was my reservation confirmed a week in advance, the volunteer staff were very professional and supportive. It really helped me get through my experience,” she said.
Without Hope Air, Wendy would have had to travel 17 hours on a bus to Vancouver. Hope Air has been able to save her thousands of dollars. A pre-arranged round trip ticket costs $350. Wendy is fortunate to have family in Vancouver but other patients would also have to arrange for accommodation and travel to and from the airport.
Wendy was 32 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “I had a three year old child and six year old child. I was shocked,” she said. Wendy had a radical mastectomy, chemotherapy and breast reconstruction. The breast reconstruction resulted in a need for two trips for surgery and treatment for an infection. “I am now cancer-free and healed,” she said recently after her latest check-up, in January.
Wendy, who has a nursing background, is an advocate of Hope Air for all medical needs and doesn’t understand why many doctors and nurses aren’t aware of the program. “I am constantly giving people the toll-free number,” she said.
Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation is the leading national organization dedicated to creating a future without breast cancer by supporting the advancement of breast cancer research, education, diagnosis and treatment.
Hope Air is a national, charitable organization dedicated to arranging air transportation for Canadians in financial need who require medical treatment or diagnosis not available in their home communities. Hope Air provides this vital service through the generous donation of flights on commercial, corporate and private aircraft.
Hope Air is not an air ambulance service. Patients must be able to board the aircraft. If needed, breast cancer patients can bring a support person with them. Patients must be able to sit in a regular airplane seat and must not need medical attention on board the aircraft. For other medical trips, requests for an escort are accommodated whenever possible if the escort is required for medical reasons.
The cost to the traveller is $25 processing fee per person per request, payable to Hope Air. Patients should expect to complete a brief financial form on the phone when arranging a flight.
To find out more information, contact Hope Air toll-free 1 877 346-HOPE (4673).