It looked like a harmless rash, but 30 years of nursing experience told Darlene Thomas otherwise so she sought help. Weeks in hospital turned to months and by the time she returned to her home in Fort St. John, British Columbia, Thomas had lost one arm and both of her legs to gangrene, a complication of the rare blood disease that nearly took her life. A triple amputee in a wheelchair, Thomas is in now in her seventies and hasn’t slowed down.
“As a nurse, you give your heart and soul to your patients. You don’t want to see them curl up and give up. That’s nonsense – they can jolly well have a full life,” says Thomas with conviction.
Thomas lives in student residence at Northern Lights College where she studies business and sits on student council. She also works at Walmart, where last year she leaped from her wheelchair, ripped off her prosthetic arm and used her stump to successfully perform CPR on a customer in cardiac arrest.
That’s not to say Thomas doesn’t need a little help once in a while. With the assistance of Hope Air, the feisty senior travels to Vancouver three times a year to have her prosthetics checked and adjusted.
“Without Hope Air, I couldn’t go,” says Thomas. “I’m a pensioner and in school. I have to pay my rent and Old Age Pension just doesn’t do it.”
Hope Air is a national charity that provides free flights to people who need to travel for medical reasons, but who face financial and distance barriers to get the care they need. Since 1986, this big-hearted charity has arranged more than 80,000 flights for Canadians.
This year, two TransCanada projects – Prince Rupert Gas Transmission and Coastal GasLink – each donated $5,000 to Hope Air. The total donation of $10,000 will help fund an estimated 45 flights for residents in and around the communities of Prince George, Terrace, Smithers, Prince Rupert, Dawson Creek and Fort St. John.
“Some of Hope Air’s busiest routes fly out of airports in B.C. The Prince George-Vancouver route is Hope Air’s second-busiest route in Canada. This partnership will help us provide more flights from locations in Northern British Columbia, allowing us to assist even more Canadians in getting to health care that is not available in their home communities,” said Doug Keller-Hobson, Executive Director, Hope Air.
“We thank TransCanada for their generous support and their dedication to the health and well-being of British Columbians.”
– Doug Keller-Hobson, Executive Director, Hope Air
“Behind every Hope Air flight, there’s a story,” says Chris Pezoulas, Director of Planning and Execution for Prince Rupert Gas Transmission. “If we can make life a little easier, we’re proud to do so.”
TransCanada is committed to supporting the communities where we live and work. Regional staff working on the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission and Coastal GasLink projects identified Hope Air as an important community initiative to support local needs.