Angel Flight hopes to soar

A pair of Kootenay pilots are launching a non-profit flight service for medical patients.

Brent Bidston and Todd Weselake are fundraising to launch Angel Flight East Kootenay. Their program provides free air transport services to people requiring medical services, treatment or care, and their caregivers, who are residents of the Kootenay region.

"As you may be aware cancer, and other medical treatments requiring specialists are required to travel to Kelowna. These locations are very far from the Elk Valley, leaving families and patients stranded in the worst of times," the group's GoFundMe page states.

They hope to raise $10,000.

They note Angel Flight East Kootenay is separate from Angel Flights B.C., which operates in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

"We will fly in light aircraft with volunteer pilots initially from Sparwood, Elk Valley Airport and Cranbrook, International Airport. Our passengers will mostly be children and adults with cancer, and children with non-communicable diseases and their caregivers. 

"As our funding grows, we hope to expand to transport various other non-emergency medical patents to specialist appointments," the founders say.

Angel Flight won't carry emergency patients or offer medical care. All passengers must be able to get in and out of small aircraft without assistance. 

More volunteer professional pilots will be recruited as demand for flights increases.

Angel Flight will operate "with professional, highly trained and current pilots, following strict guidelines laid forward by Transport Canada."

Bidston and Weselake can be reached at [email protected].

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