Flight Completed August 22nd, 2017
Can you tell us why Angel Flight Alberta was required?
We reached out to Angel Flight because our son Lincoln has a rare genetic condition and we needed to get to Edmonton for a surgical consult.
How did the flight benefit you and your family?
Flying with Angel Flight allowed us to spend more time together as a family.
If you didn’t have Angel Flight Alberta, what would you have had to do instead?
We would have booked a ticket on the Greyhound, arriving at the bus station downtown in Edmonton and having to rely on public transit to get us there. We aren’t very familiar with Edmonton so this would have been pretty stressful and challenging.
What was the highlight of the flight/experience for you (and your family)?
Mike Lane, our pilot, was excellent and he was very kind.
What would you like to say to others about using Angel Flight Alberta?
This is such a wonderful resource! Thank you Angel Flight Alberta!
The number one reason we do what we do is for people like this. Receiving testimonials that enforce the good we are providing to Alberta Communities, re-ignites that fuzzy feeling we get deep inside when we’re able help people! Below is a testimonial we received from Becky, in La Crete. Thank-you for taking the time out to let us, and others know how Angel Flight Alberta was able to help you and your family.
“In the past year my transplanted kidney, that I received 15 years ago has failed. Since there is no dialysis unit in the community we live in I have been in Edmonton on dialysis since October. I live in La Crete 7 hours north of Edmonton. My family, husband and four kids are there and have come to Edmonton as many weekends as possible to come and see me. But when it came to Christmas, I really wanted to go home for a few days(3 days) in between dialysis runs. Angel Flight made it possible for me. Instead of driving 7 hours when I’m not feeling great, Angel Flight’s van picked me up from my temporary home here in Edmonton and took me to the airport and within a few hours I was home!!
The flight with Angel Flight made it possible for me to be home and I got to La Crete feeling so much better after a short flight instead of a long drive! Instead of my husband coming to Edmonton one day and us driving back the next, Angel Flight had me home Friday afternoon, giving us so much more time together as a family ❤️️ This way my husband didn’t have to take more time off and make the exhausting drive again.
We are so grateful for the people of Angel Flight (Alberta), the organizers, drivers and pilots. All of these people volunteer their time and abilities to help people like us, people on a medical journey of some kind, and make the aspect of travel so much easier. There’s a of things that are great about living in the north, but all the driving for medical trips isn’t one of them! Angel Flight is an organization that helps with that aspect and we are so thankful to have heard about them and had such a great experience with them!
Thanks again Angel Flight!”
Flight done December 23, 2016
One very invaluable charity that literally flies under the radar is Angel Flight Alberta, a service that airlifts patients in small northern communities to long-distance medical centres.
Few medical professionals have heard of it and still fewer people on the street are aware of this free service.
Yet for many Albertans living in remote areas, the flights provide a degree of comfort, reduce stress, speed up healing and assist the bottom line during a time of financial hardship.
As with any grassroots initiative that does not receive government funding, Angel Flight Alberta is hosting their second annual fundraiser tonight at St. Albert Community Hall.
Dash Riprock, the city’s top tier classic rock band plans to energize the evening with its catchy tunes, familiar lyrics and charismatic stage flair.
Gracing the stage is lead guitar Michael Cearns, drummer Des O’Kell, guitarist Bob Moran, bassist Mike Hill, pianist Myles Jackson and singers Fred Miller, Kassara Jaxson and Crystal Hanson.
Opening for Dash Riprock is up and coming country singer Brianna Boyko, a popular attraction at Big Valley Jamboree, CCMA special events and Alberta 55+ Senior Games.
“Last year, Dash Riprock had people dancing from the first set. They’re a high-energy group and their hearts are in the right place,” said Dr. Kerry Pawluski, the driving force behind Angel Flight.
Both a medical doctor and licensed pilot, Pawluski started the service in 2006 after seeing specific needs in the health care system were not being met.
Angel Fight’s goal is to transport outpatients for treatment who must travel long distances and/or are in financial situations that make it difficult or impractical to travel by car or bus.
“We fly people who are in financial difficulty, people that want to avoid contagion, people that might need once-a-week treatment,” said Pawluski. “Also, transition coordinators release people from hospitals, but some don’t have the resources to get home. We drive them to smaller airports and fly them home.”
In one instance, Angel Flight flew a woman from Grande Prairie to an Edmonton hospital for foot surgery and had her back home before the freezing wore off.
During another occasion, a child living in La Crete needed cancer therapy at a local hospital. If the father, the sole breadwinner for a family of seven drove to Edmonton with his son, he would have had to take three days off work.
“With Angel Flight we flew the mother and the child down for chemotherapy and they were back for supper, and the dad was able to keep working,” Pawluski said.
He explained that it costs $2,000 to $3,000 a day to maintain a patient in hospitals. By flying people out quickly, Angel Flight also reduces costs to the health care system.
Pawluski modeled Angel Flight Alberta after its British Columbia counterpart. The West Coast affiliate plans for 225 flights each year. Last year it executed 175, primarily on Vancouver Island.
Since its beginnings, Alberta’s volunteer pilots have transported about 70 people mainly to sparsely settled communities such as High Level, an 11-hour drive to Edmonton.
“They have all found it to be a universally positive experience.”
Fuel costs for each flight vary depending on distance and whether a single or twin-engine airplane is used.
“It’s about $250 per hour for a single. We did a round-trip to La Crete and it was about $1,000,” Pawluski quoted.
For the continued health of this grass-roots organization, tonight’s dance and silent auction is a way to inject badly needed funds into the budget as well as promote awareness.
“Especially with the economic downturn we are all more hard-pressed. This alleviates pain and suffering. People continue to need treatments and this grows our operation. This is especially important because we have no government funding.”
The fundraiser starts at 7 p.m. at St. Albert Community Hall, 17 Perron St. Door tickets are $30.
Chances are you’ve never heard of Alberta’s Angel Flight, but the founder of this amazing health service wants to change that.
Founded in 2006, Angel Flight was created to ensure that people who would otherwise be unable to afford long distance transportation back home after being discharged from the hospital had an affordable option. Living in rural Alberta has it’s advantages but one of the downsides is the challenge in getting back home if a medical emergency necessitates a trip to a hospital far from home.
Relying on donations to make this service affordable, Angel Flight seeks donations from a variety of sources and UFCW Local 401 is proud to be one of those sponsors.
Since January 2013, Local 401’s Executive Board has approved donations of $1000/month to ensure this valuable service remains available to Albertans for as long as possible. In addition to the money donated, 401 donated one of the Local’s leased vehicles, a Ford Transit Connect, so there were more options for transport than just flights. This vehicle’s unique design was perfect for the needs of many of the patients using the service because it allows for wheelchairs and other medical equipment to easily fit inside.
We could not be more impressed with Edmonton’s Dr. Kerry Pawluski for working so hard to see this service provided to rural Albertans and we thank him and all the volunteer pilots for their commitment to assisting people when they need it most. We are proud to be a contributor in some small way and look forward to continuing that support.
Check out the Edmonton Journal article HERE
And check out Angel Flight’s website HERE
– See more at: https://gounion.ca/news/ufcw-proudly-supporting-angel-flight/
A post-hospital taxi ride home can be an uncomfortable sounding proposition, especially when the hospital is in Edmonton and home is Slave Lake.
That was the case for one woman who found herself in need of a lift Thursday after being discharged from the Grey Nuns Hospital. But thanks to a group of volunteer pilots, her return trip was a lot shorter and cheaper.
“Generally what happens is the hospital or medical facility, or whatever, has a client and they know that there is some need,” said Barton Pawluski, one of about 15 pilots who offer their planes and expertise as part of Angel Flight Alberta, a charitable organization that helps bridge the gap for people living in remote areas who need city health services.
“I’m acutely aware that Canada really does have two-tiered medicine in that there is urban and there is also rural medicine,” said Dr. Kerry Pawluski, Barton’s brother and founder of the service in Alberta. “Just to offset some of the stress to patients who are trying to get in for medical treatments or sometimes being repatriated to their home towns, we launched this volunteer pilot organization.”
Kerry Pawluski, a physician who works at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, came across a similar service that began in 2001 in B.C. and managed to use their model as a template for Alberta. They began offering the free flights in 2006 to people he says have “fallen through the cracks” and end up stranded at city hospitals.
Clients have ranged from those needing to get home after emergency medical evacuations from remote communities to scheduled appointments that are a long drive.
The company usually gets a call from a hospital or social worker asking about availability. They get the patient’s name, age and height, and then work out the details of the flight, which can depend on weather and pilot availability. They also make sure someone is at the destination to pick up the patient before flying out of Josephburg Airport east of Fort Saskatchewan.
Because the flights are not dealing with medical emergencies, pilots don’t need medical experience — Barton Pawluski is an engineer — and the cost is a fraction of what a medevac would be. For example, the Slave Lake flight, which will cost less than $400, would easily cost in the thousands for a medevac trip.
Plus, the savings to hospitals, where patients take up beds as they recover for a potentially longer trip home, are large enough to make public funding sensible, Kerry Pawluski said.
“This is a very modest cost in comparison to doing a medevac,” he said. “We need to ask the taxpayer, is this something that you and I are comfortable in paying for?”
For now, the company has managed to find corporate sponsors to offset its costs and co-operation with Alberta Air Ambulance has been positive.
What they need is for the public and medical practitioners to know they exist. Compared to its B.C. counterpart, which does about 240 flights a year, the Alberta group has done only 70 in their 10 years in the air. Alberta Health Services, on the other hand, performs about 7,000 fixed-wing medevac flights a year.
“We’ve built it and they haven’t come yet,” said Kerry Pawluski, hoping some of its recent marketing will help.
“My end goal is to alleviate some of the stress that people are experiencing.”
Angel Flight Alberta looks for new pilots in Northern Alberta
Getting a ‘lift’ to the hospital takes on a whole new meaning thanks to Angel Flight Alberta’s transportations services.
The 10-year-old not- for-profit organization offers non-emergency medical service flights for those in rural communities who don’t have the means to reach a healthcare facility in a major city centre.
“The objective is to help non-ambulatory patients, whose financial situation makes it impossible for them to travel by conventional means,” said Coree-Ann McGonigle, a member of Angel Flights marketing team.
“So it can be any- body,” she added. “There could be a family (whose) child has to go see a primary physician (every six months), so we’re able to transport those patients as well.”
The program was founded and created by Kerry Pawluski, a family physician in northern Alberta, who learned through first- hand experience about the difficulty facing people in remote communities with travel.
He came across an article in 2001 about a similar program, which is now called Angel Flight B.C.
“I thought to myself Northern Alberta has the exact same issues, why wouldn’t we offer that same service here in Alberta?” he said. After getting ideas from the founding director of the BC program, Pawluski found- ed Angel Flight Alberta in 2006, where it has been running out of Edmonton for the past ten years.
“I provide approximately 75 per cent of the flights myself,” he said. “For every- one who has been on a flight, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I have yet to have anybody say, ‘That wasn’t a lot of fun, that wasn’t my thing, I’d never do that again.’ It’s been all positive.”
The program currently only has three active pilots based out of Edmonton, though Pawluski said they have approximately 20 more who have expressed an interest.
He hopes in the future to acquire more volunteers from pilots in Northern Alberta where a majority of the patients are located.
Pawluski added that the more pilots they can get, the less “empty trips” they have to run
“They’re going up (from Edmonton) empty and they’re coming down with the patient,” he said. “After the patient has had their procedure or interview, then we have to fly them home and we’re flying back empty again.”
“If we had a pilot who was … based in that area to come down, it would cut our costs in half,” he added. “The more pilots we have from communities that the patients are coming from, the more efficient our service will be.”
McGonigle added, “We’re always looking for volunteers especially ground crew and pilots, because we wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the heroes that help us.”
Pawluski said any- one interested in volunteering, donating or registering for Angel Flight’s services can do so by visiting www.angelflight.ab.ca.