The Air Canada Foundation received, through the annual Aeroplan Mile Matching campaign held from December 3rd to 9th, 2018, a record of nearly 7.6 million Aeroplan Miles in support of its Hospital Transportation Program. Designed to help sick children travel for the medical care they need away from home, each year the Air Canada Foundation donates close to 10 million Aeroplan miles to 15 pediatric hospitals across Canada.

“The Air Canada Foundation is incredibly generous to the Janeway Children’s Hospital Foundation and our kids throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. Their Hospital Transportation Program, takes care of our young Janeway patients and their families at a time when they are most vulnerable. Having the support of Air Canada, to help, with the travel for specialized services at other hospitals, removes the additional financial concerns regarding travel, giving parents one less thing to worry about, so they can focus on their children during these difficult times,” said Jenine Kerrivan Manager, Corporate Development at Janeway Children’s Hospital Foundation.

During this year’s campaign, the Foundation introduced two children, Auguste and Keisha, who needed medical care not available in their hometown. The first, Auguste, a little boy from the Quebec, was born without an auditory nerve and had a chance to receive a revolutionary implant requiring surgery in Los Angeles.

“I would like to give many thanks the Montreal Children’s Hospital, as well as the Air Canada Foundation who supported us in our trips to Los Angeles over the past three years. Without them all of this would not have been the same.” Auguste's mom said. "Today, Auguste responds to his name when he's called and even stops at the sound of a whistle when he's playing soccer."

The Second, Keisha, was diagnosed at a young age with hypophosphatemic rickets, a condition characterized by defective intestinal absorption of calcium and osteomalacia that are insensitive to Vitamin D causing bone pain, fractures and growth abnormalities. This condition required Keisha to travel outside her hometown in New Brunswick on numerous occasions, in order to receive several surgeries.

“Having the support of the Air Canada Foundation Hospital Transportation Program was such a relief. It made our life so much easier because travelling by plane was our only option due to Keisha’s medical condition,” said Annie, Keisha’s mother. “The gift is worth more to us than anyone may think, as it will also give kids a second chance without the burden of extra travel expenses.”

Commenting on this year’s campaign, Priscille LeBlanc, Chair of the Air Canada Foundation, said: “The success of this campaign was made possible in great part through the generosity of Aeroplan Members who donate their miles in support of the Air Canada Foundation Hospital Transportation Program during the Matching Week campaign. We are also very grateful to Aeroplan who contributed 500,000 miles to this year’s record-breaking donation.”

Since its introduction in 2003, the Hospital Transportation Program has allowed for hundreds of sick children to access medical care away from home. It helps to avoid long and strenuous hours of driving, saving precious time, and allows the parents to further focus on their child. The children benefit from simply “being kids,” spending more time with their family and friends or at home or at school.

Aeroplan Members wishing to support the Hospital Transportation Program can automatically donate on a monthly basis two per cent of all miles accumulated to the Air Canada Foundation by updating the donation opt-in on their profile page on aeroplan.com.