Lorena Hearst, ON
After a year of unexplained constipation and abdominal pain, followed by many inconclusive medical test results, Lorena had a surgical intervention in Timmins Hospital then she was referred to the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, where she was diagnosed with high-grade serous carcinoma ovarian cancer stage three.
The news shocked the young mother of two boys, aged one and three, who is originally from Mexico and had moved to northern Ontario to be with her husband. The cancer had spread all over her reproductive organs and had migrated to her diaphragm. She’d already had surgery, but her oncologist wanted her to begin an aggressive form of chemotherapy immediately. The treatment needed to be administered every three weeks in Toronto, which was an 11hour drive away from home.
Driving back home simply wasn’t an option for Lorena after receiving treatment: “The next day after chemotherapy is exhausting; you get nausea and headaches.” Her husband and brother tried once, but they had to stop after five hours of driving and rest at a hotel overnight.
Without Hope Air, I’d have to borrow money, and I’d probably have to skip some of my appointments. It would have been really difficult for me.
Fortunately, a Social worker from Ontario introduced Lorena to Hope Air, whose travel assistance program reduced her travel time to three hours and even allowed her husband to fly with her to her medical appointments-a huge stress relief. “Without Hope Air,” she says, “I’d have to borrow money, and I’d probably have to skip some of my appointments. It would have been really difficult for me.”
Instead, Lorena has found strength in the support from the people around her: in her husband and family members who traveled from Mexico to Canada to care for her; in the small community of Hearst that rallied round her, and in the kindness of Hope Air’s volunteers. “I never had to worry,” she said of Hope Air’s flight request process, knowing she’d get an answer the next day after submitting a request whether or not she was approved for a flight. “It was really, really fast. Everybody is really helpful and professional. Hope Air adjusted to my needs. I couldn’t ask for more.”
It’s been over half a year since she started her cancer treatment. Lorena’s hair is slowly, but surely growing back. She’ll need more monthly visits to Toronto to continue her treatment, but she’s starting to improve both emotionally and physically. For the first time since her diagnosis, she feels hopeful about the future and wants to give back all the love she’s received.
“I’d like to encourage everyone to continue donating for this awesome organization Hope Air. I’d like to thank everyone who helped me at Hope Air, from the pilots to the volunteers and donors. Thank you for your time. It’s really awesome what Hope Air is doing for me and my family.”