In 1984, while working in the marketing department at Air Canada, Jinnie Bradshaw, C.M., learned of the Corporate Angel Network in the Northeastern United States, which used corporate planes to get cancer patients to treatment. Jinnie was certain there was a need for such a service in Canada, but no similar service existed then.
Around the same time at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, volunteer Joan Rogers saw cancer patients from the east coast arriving for treatment after spending 15 to 20 hours on a bus. Joan knew that there had to be a better way.
Jinnie was passionate about the idea of creating a charity to help patients get to treatment quickly and easily and soon realized that the time commitment required to bring such an idea into reality was enormous. She resigned her full time work and devoted her efforts to getting the new Canadian charity off the ground. She recruited friends to help, professional colleagues to join the board, corporations to offer their aircraft for flights, and approached many others to financially support the idea. During this critical time in 1985 and 1986, the stars aligned, and Jinnie and Joan’s paths intersected through mutual contacts at the Canadian Cancer Society. Joining together, these two innovative women became the co-founders of Mission Air Transportation Network (now Hope Air).
A simple, yet vital, solution to the gap experienced by so many families across Canada was created. Each of our co-founders actively, and with great passion and commitment, involved themselves in the charity—a true testament to their dedication to giving back to the community.
In 2008 Joan was honoured with the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award by then-Governor General The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, C.P., C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D., in large part due to Joan’s visionary work co-founding Mission Air/Hope Air. She stayed active as a volunteer and fully interested in the work of Hope Air until her passing in 2011. Over the years, Jinnie served the charity in multiple important roles, as volunteer, board chair, and executive director. She retired from active service at Hope Air in 2005 when she and her husband moved to Victoria, BC. That same year, Jinnie was honoured with the Order of Canada for her exemplary volunteer service, including her vital contribution to the formation and early years of Mission Air/Hope Air.