Hope Air families get to fly for fun – not necessity

When you think about heading to the airport to catch a plane, it’s usually for a business trip – a conference or a meeting, or for a leisure trip – a vacation with family or friends. What we don’t usually associate with travel is boarding a plane to go to a medical appointment or for surgery.

To assist Canadian families with medical needs WestJet has been supporting Hope Air since our inception and in 2007 they became one of our founding  WestJet Cares for Kids partners. Hope Air coordinates flights for individuals of all ages, with a variety of illnesses and health concerns. By offering transportation for health-related issues, WestJet and Hope Air relieve the strain on financially-burdened families and reduce their emotional stress when the uncertainty of illness prevails.

Almost one-third of Hope Air clients report that they would postpone their appointment if Hope Air was not able to provide them with a free flight or that they would cancel their healthcare appointment altogether. This has serious repercussions for their health, as delays in seeking care can result in a crisis. It can also interfere with their ability to work, care for their family, attend school or participate in the community.

Other Hope Air clients would do their best to get to the care they need, but their alternatives include: going into debt to purchase the flights themselves; taking money from other necessities; and planning long drives over often treacherous roads.

The support that Hope Air offers also helps to reduce the time people are away from work, school and other family members.

Hope Air is helping keep our communities vital and our citizens healthy.

WestJet believes that everyone should get to travel for fun, not just for necessity. On April 25 and 26, 2014, WestJet Cares for Kids treated five Hope Air families from across Canada to a special trip to Toronto.

We captured the fun-filled trip in this video.

The weekend in Toronto meant that these families were able to spend quality time together, making memories, enjoying the sights, shopping, and of course taking in a Toronto Blue Jays™ game at Rogers Centre™. It was an opportunity for these families to fly with nothing but fun as the end goal.

On game day, the families made their way to Rogers Centre to take in the Toronto Blue Jays game from the Jays Care™ Foundation Community Clubhouse. The Community Clubhouse is filled with baseball memorabilia donated by team members, a laptop computer with access to educational websites, a baseball glove-shaped chair, and an incredible view from above third base. Before the game, a very special guest made a surprise visit to the Community Clubhouse! Pitcher R.A. Dickey came up to spend time with the families, sign autographs, and talk with each and every individual. R.A. sat down for a Q&A with the youth and talked about his family, his favourite movies to watch with his kids, and what inspires and challenges him most.

During the game, the families had the chance to explore Jays Shop™, enjoy snacks, meet Ace™ – the Blue Jays mascot, appear on the big screen video boards, and run the bases after the game. After the game, the families took the opportunity to explore Toronto, and some ventured to Niagara Falls.

The weekend was filled with lots of laughter and good times spent together; memories that we hope these families will fondly remember the next time they board a flight for a medical appointment.


™TORONTO BLUE JAYS, JAYS CARE, bird head design, all related marks and designs and the photograph are trademarks and/or copyright of Rogers Blue Jays Baseball Partnership (“RBJBP”). © 2014 RBJBP.