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In December, Aeroplan will match all Aeroplan donations made to the Air Canada Foundation. Thank you for your generosity and making a difference in the life of these sick children!

Get to know Aidan: A letter from his mother

Aidan was born in Saskatoon on September 24th, 2002, at 6lbs and 11 ozs. One of the many medical issues Aidan has had to face over the short span of his life is the diagnosis and treatment of a Cholesteatoma of the right ear.

This is a very aggressive but fortunately benign tumor located in the middle ear canal behind the ear drum that can over time increase in size and destroy the surrounding delicate bones of the middle ear and lead to hearing loss. This is what has occurred in Aidan's case. Other symptoms include dizziness and facial paralysis.

Aidan Bohle

Aiden was first diagnosed in May 2007 when the Cholesteatoma was initially found and removed in a hospital in Saskatoon. Three additional surgeries were completed in December 2007, November 2008 and January 2010 to remove the Cholesteatoma. After the last surgery, the Dr. Spafford from Saskatoon Hospital made the decision to refer Aidan on to Dr. Drummond at the Calgary Children's Hospital for evaluation and treatment of the reoccurring Cholesteatoma.

Our first trip to the Calgary Children's Hospital was in April 2010. It was decided at the time that Aidan would return later in June and that a specialized surgical procedure called a canal wall up mastoidectomy would to be performed. During the surgery, the doctors discovered that all of one and some of another of these small middle ear bones had been eroded by the tumor and that could not remove the entire tumor at the time of the surgery, as it was extensively adhered to the facial nerve.

Dr. Drummond explained the family that another specialist, Dr. Park, would to assist him with the complicated removal of the tumor and that the next surgery was scheduled early December of the same year.

We traveled to Calgary a few times for consultations and surgeries including the removal of the tumor and the placement of a prosthetic bone piece to complete the conduction in the middle ear with the hopes that he would someday be able to hear out of his right ear.

Unfortunately on our return trip to Calgary for follow up in June, 2011 it was discovered through repeated hearing tests that either because of recurrent post-surgical ear infections or another cause, the prosthesis had likely been dislodged from its position and was not working. Currently, Aidan is still not able to hear out of his right ear. At this time we are hopeful the tumor will not return and according to Dr. Drummond, another surgery still needed to be performed to reposition the prosthesis at a later date.

All of these trips from Saskatoon to Calgary to the Children's Hospital for Aidan and I would not have been possible if not for the significant assistance provided by the Hospital Transportation Program of the Air Canada Foundation and through the Children's Health and Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan. We are very grateful for their assistance as they provided Aidan and myself the airline tickets to travel by plane, as car travel would not have been a good alternative for Aidan and his other special needs. The assistance provided by the very friendly and helpful staff with the transport program, and being able to focus on Aidan and his care and not have the extra stress of having to worry about how we could afford to fly were so much appreciated.  

Please accept our sincerest appreciation for all you have done.

Sincerely,

Tami and Aidan

 

Bella's Journey

Bella Bella is a kind & friendly 8 year old who loves games, babies & singing. She's an amazing daughter & a great big sister to Ava. Despite dealing with the effects of Rasmussen's Encephalitis, she remains courageous and inspiring. Bella was diagnosed in 2011 with Rasmussen's Encephalitis (RE), a rare neurological disease that causes intractable epileptic seizures, cognitive deficits and paralysis of 1/2 of the body.

Despite being on various anti-seizure medications and receiving treatment bi-weekly for seizure control, Bella suffers approximately 6-10 seizures daily. Previous to her surgery she suffered as many as 40+ daily and developed a continuous motor seizure in her left leg, tongue and stomach. This severely limited her mobility and participation in social activities. Despite her diagnosis and the subsequent treatment, and return of the disease, Bella continues to shine and is so positive and brave.

RE is resistant to standard anti-seizure medicines and treatments so the only known "cure" for the condition is a hemispherectomy. Bella underwent a hemispherectomy surgery to disconnect the right hemisphere of her brain on January 30, 2013 in Edmonton. This has caused partial paralysis of the left side and vision loss in her left field and issues with her right eye. She spent 5 months in an Edmonton rehabilitation hospital relearning to walk and function with left sided weakness. Two weeks after her return to Saskatoon, her seizures have returned and additional surgery may be required.

Having the Air Canada Foundation Hospital Transportation Program assist in providing transportation to and from Edmonton for the surgery was significant. It meant that I did not have to drive, worry about driving or spend 5 hours alone with my thoughts on a road. It meant that I could dedicate that time to spending it with my two girls and get caught up in the adventure of being on a plane from a 7 and 8 year old's perspective. I got to fully appreciate how far my little girl has come. I recall Bella did not talk about the surgery for that morning as she was happy to be on the airplane. Prior and after this, her thoughts were on the surgery and what it would mean. The reprieve for both of us was wonderful.

Our family definitely is grateful for the program and appreciative of the staff who works to ensure that the Air Canada Foundation Hospital Transportation Program continues. It made a big difference and brought joy to us in a time when there was so much uncertainty and gloom facing us as well as bring us home faster. To a harried mother, scared and scattered, this meant a great deal to me.

Thank you again for this opportunity.

Sincerely,

Bev, Bella and Ava Arcand.

 

Air Canada Foundation Golf Tournament raises over a $1,000,000 in Support of Children's Charities Across Canada

This year's Air Canada Foundation golf tournament raised a record of over $1,000,000 in support of organizations focused on health and wellbeing of children in Canada.  Now in its third year, the tournament was held Monday, August 11th, at the Saint Raphaël Golf Club, Québec. The event featured 73 teams totaling 292 golfers from across North America. It included a full day of golf followed by dinner and silent and live auctions of items donated by tournament partners.

Aimia was the presenting sponsor of this year's event which was supported by more than 115 Canadian and international corporations and organizations.
“With the unwavering support of Air Canada's friends, partners and employees, the Foundation's signature fundraising event has exceeded its million dollar target in just three years,” said Priscille LeBlanc, Air Canada's Vice President, Corporate Communications and Chair of the Air Canada Foundation. “The funds raised will increase the Foundation's ability to make a difference in the lives of thousands of children across Canada through financial and travel assistance to children's hospitals, charitable organizations and causes focused on helping children in need. On behalf of all the people whose lives are touched by the Air Canada Foundation, I extend a heartfelt thank you to our loyal sponsors, participants and volunteers for their on-going enthusiasm and generosity.”

Air Canada Foundation's Third Annual Charity Golf Event

The Air Canada Foundation is proud to host its third annual charity golf tournament on August 11, 2014. We would like to say thank you to all of our partners, sponsors and donors. We are thrilled to raise money to help connect sick children to the medical care they need, grant children's wishes and alleviate child poverty.


Cash Donations

Funds are donated to programs or projects submitted by eligible registered charitable organizations which meet the Air Canada Foundation selection criteria. Some of the recipients of the 2013 fund donations were:

  • Breakfast Clubs of Canada to support five existing school breakfast programs in aboriginal communities and finance the cost of equipment and training for four new programs in four different provinces and territories:
    • Annapolis Valley First Nation, Cambridge, Nova Scotia
    • Aronhiatekha/Rotowennakehte School, Kanehsatake, Quebec
    • Duke of Malborough School, Churchill Manitoba
    • Omiishosh Memorial School, Pauingassi, Manitoba
    • Mildred Hall School, Yellowknife, NorthWest Territories
  • 14 Canadian pediatric hospitals, members of the Children's Miracle Network to assist with their most urgent funding needs.
  • Dreams Take Flight Canada, a charitable organization founded and driven by Air Canada employees and retirees who enable thousands of children with physically, mentally or socially challenged backgrounds from across Canada to experience an all-expense paid day at Disney.
  • Shriners Hospital Canada, as part of a five-year commitment to the Young Patient Lounge area of Montreal's new hospital.
  • Canadian Red Cross's emergency aid for the Philippines.
  • Pathways to Education's “The Pathways Air Canada Foundation Scholarship Fund,” which is a three-year commitment towards the creation of a scholarship fund called to help youth from low-income communities graduate from high school and successfully transition into post-secondary education and training.
  • Beyond Borders ECPAT's program to free children from sexual abuse and exploitation.

In-Kind Support

In 2013 the Air Canada Foundation managed over $3.5M in in-kind support donated by Air Canada including:

  • Aircraft for eight Dreams Take Flight trips to Disney.
  • Support to over 300 charitable organizations with the gift of travel for hundreds of fundraising events.
  • A partnership with the RCMP Child Recovery Program to ensure the safe return of several missing children. 
  • The Air Canada Foundation Hospital Transportation Program which donated over 10 million Aeroplan Miles to pediatric hospitals across Canada enabling children to access medical care not available in their own communities.
  • A Volunteer Involvement Program (VIP) for employees which awarded support to 106 charitable organizations in which Air Canada employees volunteer in their own community, including:
    • A Loving Spoonful Meals Society – British Columbia
    • Autism Aspergers Friendship Society of Calgary – Alberta
    • Winnipeg Harvest Inc. – Manitoba
    • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Society of Canada (ALS) – Ontario
    • Fondation du Centre des Femmes de Montréal – Montréal
    • Fondation du Syndrome d'Angelman – Québec
    • Charlotte County Cancer Society Inc. – New Brunswick
    • Society for Women Healing From Addictions and Abuse – Nova Scotia
    • Glenn's Helping Hand Foundation Inc. – Newfoundland

Humanitarian aid

Following natural disasters the Air Canada Foundation provides humanitarian aid to those communities across the globe that need it most:

  • The Air Canada Foundation donated $50,000 to the Canadian Red Cross in support of relief efforts in the Philippines following typhoon Haiyan.
  • The Foundation also provided complimentary travel to the Canadian Medical Assistance Team to determine the extent of the devastation, the infrastructure repair requirements, and the health needs of the typhoon victims before setting up their inflatable field hospital and deploying their volunteer medical staff.
  • Air Canada Cargo transported 30 pallets of essential medicine, enough for 240 000 treatments, from Toronto and Montreal to Frankfurt, in an effort to provide emergency medical relief to victims in the Philippines.


Spencers Diary at the Sochi Paralympic Games

On March 2, 13-year-old Spencer Lambert boarded a plane for Russia, to cheer on Team Canada at the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi. When the sledge-hockey player found out he had been chosen as a para-sports ambassador by the Air Canada Foundation, The Canada Paralympic Committee and the Shriners Hospital for Children, he couldn’t believe it. “I thought they were joking,” he said. Here are some of Spencer’s photos from his time overseas.

01-spencer-lambert

Before take off, Spencer got a chance to visit the cockpit. Joined by his father Richard Lambert, the Air Canada Foundation’s Micheline Villeneuve and Susan Grant, a member of our sales team, Spencer stopped in Moscow where he spent two days before heading to host city Sochi.

Spencer plays several sports including tennis, basketball and rugby. But like many young Canadians hockey, or in his case sledge hockey, is his favourite. Even before finding out that he would get to meet several of the athletes on Team Canada, he simply couldn’t wait to watch the games!

Spencer plays several sports including tennis, basketball and rugby. But like many young Canadians hockey, or in his case sledge hockey, is his favourite. Even before finding out that he would get to meet several of the athletes on Team Canada, he simply couldn’t wait to watch the games!

Spencer quickly got in to the Olympic spirit, trading pins with athletes and spectators from around the world. Through his collection, he got to meet several members of the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Team Canada, who were all impressed with the enthusiastic athlete. “He’s was truly the star of the week,” Micheline reveals. Here he is with Sport Canada’s Trice Cameron, Dr. Robert Steadward, founder of the International Paralympic Committee, Greg Westlake, and Billy Bridges of the Canadian sledge hockey team, and Canadian swimmer and Paralympic gold medallist Stéphanie Dixon.

Spencer quickly got in to the Olympic spirit, trading pins with athletes and spectators from around the world. Through his collection, he got to meet several members of the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Team Canada, who were all impressed with the enthusiastic athlete. “He’s was truly the star of the week,” Micheline reveals. Here he is with Sport Canada’s Trice Cameron, Dr. Robert Steadward, founder of the International Paralympic Committee, Greg Westlake, and Billy Bridges of the Canadian sledge hockey team, and Canadian swimmer and Paralympic gold medallist Stéphanie Dixon.

The gang left Sochi on March 11, stopping in Frankfurt before catching an Air Canada flight home. While he is full of memories, one thing Spencer will never forget following is Paralympic adventures is the idea that “anything is possible when you dream and work hard.”

The gang left Sochi on March 11, stopping in Frankfurt before catching an Air Canada flight home. While he is full of memories, one thing Spencer will never forget following is Paralympic adventures is the idea that “anything is possible when you dream and work hard.”

The Air Canada Foundation would like to thank travel management company API for making this trip possible, as well as the Montreal Airport Marriott and the Radisson Royal Hotel in Moscow for their generosity. A special mention also goes out to the Canadian Paralympic committee, our pilots, crew and all our staff for their warm welcome. To learn more about the Air Canada Foundation, please visit aircanada.com/foundation.