Tracy Powell River, BC
Before Tracy got sick, he made time to take a daily stroll and do yoga to keep in shape. He stayed active in his picture-perfect community of Powell River, kept a positive outlook on life, and found ways to give back and help others.
Unfortunately, the former pilot’s life took a dramatic turn when he was diagnosed with heart disease. Doctors found that his heart valves were shrinking and he would need to have his aortic valve replaced. Without this surgery, he faced uncomfortable odds for a major heart attack. St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver was the place where Tracy could get the specialized treatment he so desperately needed; however, working out the logistics of getting to and from his appointments posed a significant challenge.
Life in Powell River has its benefits, including ocean views, a favorable climate and a caring community - but when its residents need specialized care for high-risk health conditions, a combination of vehicle and ferry trips is commonly required, with inevitable wait times and overnight stays.
“With the distance and time to travel by car to Vancouver, each trip to and from the mainland could easily turn into a two-day event,” says Tracy, “and when you factor in age and how unwell you are feeling, things can get very taxing and challenging very quickly.”
As appointments and surgery dates were scheduled for Tracy, the stress and looming cost of travel prompted him to search online for support.
“I’ve been pretty computer savvy since the days of the Commodore 64,” jokes Tracy, “so I decided to look on the internet for help. I wanted to know what options are available to Canadians who need to get to medical appointments in larger centres.”
I could go to my appointment and be home that same evening and that really made a big difference in my life. I honestly don’t think I could have gotten the proper treatment without Hope Air.
Coming across the Hope Air website was, as Tracy puts it, “one of the best computer finds of my life.” After filling out the required forms and requesting a flight, he was blown away with how quickly the staff got back to him, explained everything to him, and eased the burden of his journey. Tracy was able to fly from his community and be in Vancouver in less than hour. “I could go to my appointment and be home that same evening and that really made a big difference in my life. I honestly don’t think I could have gotten the proper treatment without Hope Air.”
The flight to Vancouver for surgery was, for Tracy, just the beginning of his journey with Hope Air. As a follow-up to his valve replacement surgery, he will require additional trips to the big city every six months to monitor his heart.
Tracy acknowledges that “the older you get, the more things can creep up with your health.” He takes one day at a time and accepts new health challenges that lie ahead as part of the aging process.
“Knowing Hope Air is in your corner takes away the financial burden and stress associated with accessing medical treatment,” Tracy says. “I cannot say enough good things about this organization and the amazing work they do for families. My overall experience with Hope Air has been nothing but amazing.”
“Hope Air provides a life saving service for so many Canadians. In my opinion, Hope Air doesn’t get enough credit for the work they do, and they are not looking for profit, which just speaks volumes for the organization.”