Hope Air helps 4-year-old look forward to appointments

When frequent travel for treatment is impossibly expensive, Hope Air is there.

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In August of 2020, when Atticus was just three years old, he went through an unresponsive episode and the next morning he was struggling to speak. After a trip to the hospital, they learned that Atticus was also having difficulty eating and drinking. Doctors ran a multitude of tests, but they were not able to diagnose the cause of Atticus’ episode.

It was not until Atticus and his mother travelled to BC Childrens Hospital, where more tests were conducted, that was diagnosed with what doctors presumed to be myasthenia gravis (MG). Myasthenia gravis is a neuromuscular disease that causes weakness and rapid fatigue of any of the muscles under your voluntary control.

Atticus’ diagnosis meant he and his mother, Brittney, would have to travel from Kelowna to BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, regularly for frequent treatment and follow up visits to ensure the treatment plan would help manage his myasthenia gravis.

Brittney had first heard about Hope Air when they were air transported to Vancouver and had no vehicle to get home. With so many uncertainties at that time, she had her sister pick them up in Vancouver. But later when they learned they would have to travel to Vancouver more regularly, especially in the winter months, Brittney decided she would try Hope Air.

Hope Air has been able to provide Atticus’ family with flights and accommodations for their travel to Vancouver. When the Hope Meals and Hope Rides programs launched in spring 2022, they were also able to utilize those programs and receive meal vouchers and uber vouchers to assist with the cost of their travel.

“I was so relieved,” says Brittney. “The first times it was flights, and I didn’t know there were accommodations and then it was here is your flight, accommodation, meal vouchers and Uber voucher to and from the hospital, it was a godsent.”

The trips to BC Children’s hospital often entailed testing and IVs for Atticus. An aspect of the trip he never looked forward to. Because of the funds Atticus’ family was able to save with Hope Air’s support, Brittney has been able to provide fun activities outside of the hospital for Atticus to help manage his anxiety around his hospital visits and give him something fun to look forward to.

“Because of Hope Air I was able to have the little bit of money to take Atticus somewhere and do something fun instead of having to sit in a hotel room and think about his appointment, it helps him relax before we have to go [to his appointments],” says Brittney.
Roger and his wife Susie are from Northern Ontario, a nearly thirteen-hour drive from the hospital Roger would have to reach for his compartment syndrome surgery in Hamilton, Ontario. Roger lives near Kapuskasing, Ontario, with his wife Susie. His symptoms first began 15 years ago, with intense pressure and pain in his legs and arms that was accompanied by swelling.

After visiting several doctors near his home and in Thunder Bay, Roger was diagnosed with compartment syndrome, a condition where his muscles expanded as if he had done strenuous exercise. Compartment syndrome is a rare condition where, untreated, causes nerve damage, amputation, loss of muscle function, and kidney failure, among other consequences. Doctors did not know what caused Roger’s condition, but knew that it needed urgent medical intervention.

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.