Harlyn Prince George, BC

When you become a parent, your life changes forever. But for Antasia, her world turned upside down when her newborn, Harlyn, was diagnosed with the rare congenital conditions of female epispadias and bladder exstrophy.

Epispadias is a birth defect affecting the proper formation of the urethra. It is often associated with bladder exstrophy, a congenital defect in which the bladder protrudes from the abdominal wall. “When she was born, we didn’t even know if she was a girl or a boy,” says Antasia. “I was shocked, and I wasn’t sure if she was going to make it through.” They were transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the BC Children’s Hospital with the aid of an infant-response team when Harlyn was just 10 hours old.

Post Harlyn’s discharge after a couple of days, a social worker at the BC Children’s Hospital informed Antasia about Hope Air and its services. When Antasia reflects back on her discovery of Hope Air, she says, “Thank God we could get home!” Since the initial flight in 2011, Hope Air has arranged seven additional flights between Prince George and Vancouver for Harlyn and Antasia.

"I wasn’t sure if she was going to make it through."

Antasia added that Hope Air is an excellent service that she has never experienced an issue with. As a matter of fact, she has personally recommended its services to others on various occasions. The organization is fast and efficient in terms of scheduling flights, and extremely reliable, she says.

At the age of one, Harlyn had a major surgery in Vancouver. Today Harlyn is making progress and her condition is better than before. Like many young girls, she enjoys playing with princesses and Barbies, dancing to ballerina songs and making crafts. Although Harlyn will probably need a major surgery again next year, she is on the road to recovery and resuming her life as any other four-year-old.