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Charity reaching new heights with free flights for Newfoundlanders

Jim Burton (left), chairman of Hope Air’s advisory council for Atlantic Canada, and national chief executive officer Doug Keller-Hobson said this morning’s breakfast fundraiser will provide free flights to 60 people from this province needing to travel away from home for necessary medical appointments.
Jim Burton (left), chairman of Hope Air’s advisory council for Atlantic Canada, and national chief executive officer Doug Keller-Hobson said this morning’s breakfast fundraiser will provide free flights to 60 people from this province needing to travel away from home for necessary medical appointments. - Rosie Mullaley

Fundraiser expected to help 60 of the province's residents get medical care away from home

A charity that continues to fly to new heights in this province is once again helping dozens of Newfoundland and Labrador families get medical care away from home.

Hope Air — which provides free flights for low-income Canadians who need to travel for medical appointments — held its third annual breakfast fundraiser, Ham, Eggs and Hope, this morning at the Holiday Inn in St. John's.

About 140 people, including Premier Dwight Ball, who had planned to attend the event, were expected to help raise enough money to provide 60 flights to people in this province.

“Wherever you live in Canada, you’re entitled to have access to our great health care system,” Hope Air’s chief executive officer Doug Keller-Hobson said Monday during an interview at The Telegram. “However, how do you get through the front door of a specialist that may be within your province or maybe four provinces away?”

Keller-Hobson said lengthy travel times in a vehicle or bus can be difficult for many people with certain medical conditions.

“Flying with Hope Air makes it so much easier for people,” he said. “They get the treatment they deserve and they get home that much faster. They’re back in the community, back to their jobs, back to their families.”

Hope Air has provided more than 5,000 flights to people in this province over the last 10 years.

Jim Burton, former chairman of the provincial board of directors and current chairman of the association’s advisory council for Atlantic Canada, said there’s a huge need for people here who need medical treatment elsewhere, but just can’t afford the cost of a plane ticket.

“Hope Air is not an airline. It’s a lifeline,” Burton said.

“It’s important to be there for those people. Hope Air is in the business of making happier and healthier communities.”

To contribute to the association, contact Jim Burton at 682-8663 or vjamesburton@gmail.com. For more information about Hope Air, visit www.hopeair.ca.

rosie.mullaley@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelyRosie

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