Brendan Thunder Bay, ON

Brendan is a 15-year-old decorated cadet who pitches tents, aims for the bull’s-eye, and looks forward to the next time he’ll get to jump into the pool in his backyard. But this young recruit is in the fight of his life.

It started when his teachers noticed that Brendan wasn’t paying attention in school. His mom, Kelly, thought that this could be his ADHD, but when she took him to have a hearing test, things took a turn for the worse. “How could I miss this?” she says. “We went from a hearing test to 'he’s got a tumor' in a week.” The doctor in Thunder Bay told them Brendan needed to go to Toronto right away to get a specialist to look at his tumor. “I didn’t know what to do.”

She could have gone to her mom for help, but that would have gone against her nature. “I like to stand on my own two feet.” Time was short, and they needed to act fast. Kelly knew that her cousin, Melanie, had reached out to a charity called Hope Air that helped her and her daughter travel to treatment.

“How could I miss this? We went from a hearing test to 'he’s got a tumor' in a week.”

“I had to go really quickly,” Kelly says. Fortunately, Hope Air’s team was able to secure her and Brendan a flight to Toronto. Knowing that their travel to and from Toronto was taken care of was a load off their minds and let them focus on what was really important. “We were able to concentrate on his health and not finances.” At SickKids in Toronto, Kelly and Brendan learned that the tumor was benign and that he wouldn’t need an operation.

Today, Brendan’s tumor is stable and hasn’t grown. For Kelly, receiving this information was an enormous relief. “When you have an answer in the midst of chaos, I call that a miracle.”