Hope Air has launched a fundraiser at the Goderich Airport.
All proceeds will help people who are sick, living in remote areas.
“Hope Air is a charity that brings people from remote regions, volunteer pilots fly them, to cancer treatments in the big cites so they can access their medical treatments," said Marilyn Bruinsma. "Otherwise many would not come.”
Bruinsma says they usually come from communities that don't have the medical services they need. Hope Air Chief Development Officer Jon Collins explains Hope Air pilots serve people from all across Canada and Ontario.
“Some of them have a pretty good primary healthcare system but if you're needing any type of specialty care that care is centred in an urban centre and people have to travel. So we at Hope Air help to bridge the distance between their home and the hospital they're going to and help get them in," Collins shared.
Bruinsma adds there's a young lady partaking in the June 5 fundraiser from Windsor, sharing her story and experiences with Hope Air as a patient. Collins says her name is Zoey.
“She's ten years old, lives in Windsor and every ten days she's in Toronto for blood treatment for a rare genetic disorder and without Hope Air she'd be making the drive, probably having to stay overnight in a hotel and on that regular interval, at significant expense to her family," said Collins.
The pilots volunteer their aircraft, their fuel, and their time to connect these people with the help they need. Bruinsma said WestJet and Porter Airlines also donate seats. In many cases, the only alternative is an eleven hour trip by bus or train and that can be very long for someone who isn't feeling well even before the trip starts.
Collins says they work with commercial airlines across the county to help people get to where they need to go, but they also have fifty volunteer pilots, including one in Goderich who organized the June 5 event, and he says those people give their time, their aircraft and their operating expenses to help pick up people at air strips near their homes and bring them to the care that they need.
A silent auction was held, followed by a live auction with Huron-Bruce MP Ben Lobb and Huron County Warden Glen McNeil. Bruinsma said thanks to them, they were able to raise more money than any other fly-in across Canada last year.
By the end of the day Bruinsma said they had raised $7,000 and counting and a company in B.C is matching all donations raised.