Hope Air helps Saskatoon man fly to treatment for rare form of cancer

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A Saskatoon resident has become a cancer-care advocate to those in his community after Hope Air helped him fly to treatments in Toronto for a rare throat cancer – so rare, he has been told he’s one of the few who have it. In April 2015, Brian picked up the phone and when he tried to speak, nothing came out. Brian had unexpectedly lost his voice. He visited his doctor, and after several tests in Saskatoon, it was difficult to diagnosis.

Instead, Brian had to travel to Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto to receive a diagnosis and treatment plan. Brian had a cancerous tumour in his throat, one which is exceedingly rare and incurable. Brian is one of 13 known cases in the world since 1950 who have this type of cancer.

Due to both the rarity and complexity of his case, Brian needed to travel out-of-province to Toronto for radiation therapy, every 6 months for checkups for the next 2 years and once a year for 3 years after that. The drive would’ve taken 28 hours one way, and flights were really the best way to get there. Unfortunately, Brian was out of work and could not afford the expense.

Brian tried to look for resources through different organizations and was not successful in finding support for flights. He tried applying for different programs and was met with waiting periods.

“I didn’t have time to wait,” says Brian. Finally, he decided to conduct his own research and discovered Hope Air. Brian was ecstatic. Hope Air was able to fly him to Toronto for treatment and bring him to the only place he wanted to be afterward, his home in Saskatoon. Brian was finally able to get the help he needed.

“There are options out there. Hope Air saves lives,” says Brian. During Brian’s diagnosis in 2015 he was given a prognosis of six months. Brian’s last checkup was in March of 2020 and his doctors were amazed with his progress.Brian is now doing quite well and has been counselling people in North America who are also battling throat cancer.

“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Hope Air,” says Brian. Brian attended the Give Hope Wings fundraising exhibition stop in Saskatoon this past September to meet with pilots and media and share his Hope Air journey.

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