A few short years ago, Stephen Tapp was like many urban Canadians: unaware of the issues Canadians living outside of city centres faced when needing to access specialized medical care.
An internationally recognized leader in media, technology and real estate with a history of serving on for-profit and non-profit boards, Tapp has an eye for organizations that can fill a niche and make a difference.
Hope Air first arrived on his radar by way of a LinkedIn post. Immediately, the importance of supporting low-income Canadians who could be living up to 12-or-more hours from the care they need, made sense to him. Over time, he learned more about the specific niche Hope Air fills in the Canadian healthcare landscape and he was moved to act.
“As I learned more about the cause, it became so tangible and the value proposition truly resonated with me,” he reflects. “There are so many concrete examples of experiences that I could relate to – diagnoses that were hard to imagine in the best of situations, let alone needing to travel for hours, often multiple times, at significant personal expense just to try to get well. When you are sick, all you should have to focus on is the treatment and getting better, not the logistics”
Until these patient stories started to bring depth to the issue, his focus had been on other issues in the space.
“I’ve done extensive volunteer work, as a foundation board member, supporting health care charities in the past, including supporting major fundraising campaigns for Toronto-area hospitals. On a personal level, my experience with helping someone get to care was driving my best friend with prostate cancer a few short blocks to get to their appointments.
Now, like many of Hope Air’s supporters, traveling to access care means something very different and he is committed to helping address that through the unique niche that Hope Air helps fill in the Canadian charitable landscape. Fundraising for research, hospital equipment and support to people managing health conditions is important to him, but it is the unique gap that Hope Air fills that stands out as an opportunity that needs increased attention and support.
“There are so many meaningful causes in the charitable landscape. When I think about all the issues in our world today, the needs are real and they are all relevant. What I value about Hope Air is that their work is truly unique. As the only national charity helping people travel for medical care, they’re filling a need that our universal healthcare system and our world class hospitals in city centres cannot address on their own. More than that, they’re providing multidimensional support. It’s not just the patients, but the volunteer pilots who give their time and talents when commercial airlines can’t service a patient, and also programs like accommodations, meals and rides that address some of the hidden expenses of traveling for care. Hope Air is truly a one of a kind game changer”
I’m proud to support this unique charity providing an important, unique service for Canadians in need.