Hope Air numbers soar in 2013

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Josh Pennell
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Hope Air more than doubled the flights it provided to people in this province in 2013 compared to 2012.

Jim Burton (left) and Doug Keller-Hobson of Hope Air are thrilled that the number of flights provided to people in need of health care in this province has grown. They would like to see the trend continue.  — Photo by Josh Pennell/The Telegram

The charity organization arranges free flights for financially-disadvantaged Canadians to get them to the health care they need.

Executive director, Doug Keller-Hobson, says the reason for the increase is not a sign of increasing illness and falling prosperity in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“It’s not because there are more sick people in financial need. That’s not the case,” he says.

“It really is us getting the word out, but we can only do that if we also get the community support, and that pays for the flights.”

There were 111 flights given in this province in 2011 compared to 252 in 2012 and 652 in 2013. St. John’s to Toronto was the most requested route for people in this province needing help getting to proper health care.

Deer Lake to St. John’s was next followed by St. John’s to Halifax and Happy Valley — Goose Bay to St. John’s.

“The corporate community has stepped up to the plate and has contributed in a very meaningful way,” says Jim Burton, a board director for Hope Air.

The Rotary Club of St. John’s Northwest hosts an annual gala dinner and auction that raises about $250,000 each year, half of which goes to Hope Air.

On March 22 there’s a big dinner and silent auction event at The Sheraton Hotel in St. John’s with former Phantom of the Opera star, Robert Pillon, that will raise about a quarter of a million dollars.

Half of that will also go to aid the efforts of Hope Air.

For all that, more help is still required.

“The need is great as we see in the numbers and there’s room for others to come and help Hope Air,” says Burton.

People can donate or get information on how to apply for aid from Hope Air by visiting hopeair.ca.

josh.pennell@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Hope Air.The Rotary Club, The Sheraton Hotel

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Toronto, Deer Lake Halifax Happy Valley Goose Bay

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