Give Hope Wings lands in Kingston Friday

If you notice the skies above Kingston are especially crowded on Friday, Jun. 9, 2023, please don’t call the authorities.

Instead, Kingston area residents can mark their calendars and head out to the Kingston Airport, where, at 4 p.m., more than a dozen small private aircraft will be landing for the final stop of a four-province expedition, Give Hope Wings, to raise money and awareness for Hope Air, a charity that flies patients to essential medical appointments.

This free, family-friendly event will provide an opportunity to see the airplanes land, look at them up close, and ask questions of the pilots. Hope Air’s mascot, Jet the bear, also travels along with the pilots, carrying “Hope Bear Mail” with messages of hope, love, and warmth from team Hope Air to patients.

Give Hope Wings 2023 is Hope Air’s annual fundraising event, in which pilots fly a small fleet of aircraft in three separate expeditions — Eastern Canada, Western Canada, and the Prairies — to raise funds and awareness for Hope Air. With community events in large urban airports, Hope Air patient communities, and hallmark aviation communities, the event gives an opportunity for everyone to connect with patients and volunteer pilots. According to a release, Give Hope Wings has a fundraising goal of $600,000.

For people who are in financial need and live outside large city centres, distance and cost are very real barriers to accessing vital medical care. Hope Air is Canada’s only national charity that provides flights and travel support — including hotel accommodations, meals, and ground transportation — to patients in financial need who must get to and from vital medical appointments. And Kingston has seen its fair share of Hope Air traffic, as well as a Hope Air pilot making the dreams of one local student become a reality in the skies over the Limestone City.

In 2022, Hope Air provided 10,251 travel arrangements for 2,000 patients in 420 communities, a 51 per cent increase from the previous year.

Kingstonist spoke with Hope Air representatives on Tuesday, Jun. 6, 2023, to confirm that the event was going ahead as planned despite the smoky air conditions in Kingston due to wildfires in Greater Madawaska and throughout Quebec. Hope Air confirms this event is “still a go” at this time, and that the organization looks forward to seeing those from Kingston and the area on Friday!

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