Flying patients to and
from care under all sorts
of conditions

A donor recipient from Winnipeg says she is feeling “110 per cent” after receiving a kidney from an unexpected volunteer donor who Hope Air flew to her city for the life-changing operation.

Lisa had been diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease when she was younger, a genetic disease that causes cysts to grow on the kidneys. It ran in her family, but her case became much more serious. By 2018, her kidneys were overtaken by cysts and were failing. Her only option for survival was lifelong dialysis or a transplant.

In 2019, there were 4,300 Canadians on the waiting list for an organ transplant and 75 per cent of them are waiting for a kidney according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. In order to help Lisa, her family and community came together in an effort to find a suitable kidney donor. Her two children wore t-shirts and shared photos on social media to spread
the word. A travel representative that Lisa knew through her work at CAA Club Group found out about Lisa’s situation. As a kidney donor himself, he hoped to help find someone who would be a match. He put the word out to the travel community about the need for a donor on his own social media accounts. It worked. The post was shared over 500 times. After a friend told her about the post, a retired travel agent from British Columbia named Susan came forward and offered to donate her kidney to help Lisa. Despite the two women having no previous connection, Susan really wanted to help. Finally in 2019 after a year of tests, Susan’s kidney was deemed to be an official match. Susan would need to travel from Langley, British Columbia to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Unsure of how she would get to Winnipeg, Susan discovered Hope Air. When she told Lisa about the organization, Lisa recalled how her employer – CAA Club Group – made contributions to Hope Air. “I am so grateful for Hope Air. I don’t think I would be here today without you getting Susan here for me,” said Lisa. Hope Air flew Susan to Winnipeg for the surgery. The two spent time recovering together at Lisa’s home a week afterwards, and the two women formed an everlasting bond through their time together and celebrated a late Thanksgiving. There was much to be thankful for.

“ I would not be here today without Hope Air. ”

Lisa and Susan still keep in touch. They chat on the 10th of every month, the day the surgery took place, to remember their time together and update one another on what’s happening in their lives.

We acknowledge that we live and work on the unceded, traditional territories of many Indigenous peoples. We are grateful for the privilege of being on lands that these peoples have nurtured since time immemorial.