Henry Kelowna, B.C.
Kelowna boy's health improves with help of Hope Air
A nine-year-old boy from Kelowna has officially “rung the bell” to signify the end of his chemotherapy treatments. With help from Hope Air - a national charity providing flights and accommodations to reach medical care - Henry and his mother, Bristol, have been able to fly to care in Vancouver multiple times.
Henry was diagnosed with leukemia in 2019 and the stress of travelling hours for treatments and appointments was another added pressure for the family. The two had already driven to Vancouver when Henry’s grandfather discovered Hope Air. The drives had been especially challenging when Henry was not feeling well and when the driving conditions were unsafe.
With flights from Hope Air, they were able to focus on Henry’s health.
“Henry has overcome many obstacles in his life. It is so amazing to see him finally enjoy being a kid again; playing with friends, hanging out with his cats and just having fun,” says Bristol.
To further celebrate the end of his treatments, Henry smashed his pill bottles. He is still getting used to the new routine of not having to take medication every day. Henry is now finding his new normal by continuing the activities he loves, like soccer and going to school. He continues to do physio at home to build more strength in his legs.
Henry and Bristol will need to travel in future again for medical follow-up. Every three months, Henry will fly to Vancouver for his checkup appointments with the oncology team at BC Children’s Hospital.
Hope Air provides free flights and accommodations to help patients in financial need get medical care. Hope Air has provided Henry and his mother with approximately 30 flights.
“It’s nice to know that I can go through the process now. It takes two minutes. I get the flight details and then we fly, travelling can be so stressful and knowing we can fly helps us breathe a little easier.” says Bristol.
The two have continued taking commercial flights arranged by Hope Air to reach Henry’s appointments during the pandemic. Although she says it can be overwhelming to travel during this time, Bristol says it would have been more difficult to drive.