Navigating Complex Illness with Hope Air

Navigating Complex Illness with Hope Air

Sign up to receive Hope Air news, updates and patient journeys.

In 2017, 34-year-old Adrienne started to have problems with her breathing. She couldn’t figure out what possibly was the cause, since she was very athletic and healthy, practicing boxing and Muay Thai. The same year, Adrienne had a full cardiac failure and ended up in the ER on life support with less than 10 per cent of her heart functioning. Upon diagnosis, the doctors told her it was because of an autoimmune disorder, which she was completely unaware of until that point in time.

This would mark the start of a very tumultuous healthcare journey for Adrienne. After her heart failure, she struggled to receive a diagnosis and was airlifted from Regina to Edmonton for more specialized care. For a few years, Adrienne travelled frequently between Edmonton and Regina for treatment but realized that it was draining her energy and finances. Her doctors also suggested she stay in Edmonton because doctors would have a better chance to make her medically stable. And so, Adrienne would give up her career, and home, to move to Edmonton, to be closer to specialized care.

Adrienne then underwent heart transplantation surgery, and received additional diagnoses including cancer, organ rejection, chronic virus and autoimmune issues because of her genetic disposition. She would now have to travel from Edmonton to Calgary, every week for at least six months, to get treatment for her post-surgery complications. Adrienne knew that this would be very difficult to manage from both a financial and safety perspective, since driving post-surgery would be painful and driving on the highway in winter would also be hazardous. Right when she started to stress about the whole prospect of travel, the medical staff at University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton introduced Adrienne to Hope Air.

“I would be lost without Hope Air. They’ve saved me so much money and mental stress about travelling and I’m so thankful that programs like Hope Air exist. I cannot fathom how I would’ve travelled to Calgary without Hope Air’s support and generosity,” says Adrienne about the impact Hope Air has had in her healthcare journey.

When asked what Adrienne would have done if she hadn’t heard about Hope Air, she says, “I was very concerned with how I would financially cope. I am on long term disability because of my health, so it would’ve been tough to make things work on low income. I probably would’ve gotten into debt or possibly even compromised my own health by eating less, buying less groceries to save money and taking the bus every now and then would also have been risky since I’m immunocompromised.”

Hope Air’s support has helped Adrienne focus on her treatments and recovery. “Hope Air has unburdened my mind from stress, which in turn allowed me to heal up post-surgery and dig for the fortitude needed to focus on treatments and healing.

We acknowledge that we live and work on the unceded, traditional territories of many Indigenous peoples. We are grateful for the privilege of being on lands that these peoples have nurtured since time immemorial.