Charity Flies People to Say Goodbye to Sick or Dying Loved Ones
Jasmine Krawchuk - Calgary Journal
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May 30, 2022

On a trip to Cancun, Mexico last year, Jolene Powell’s father suffered a heart attack. He was moved to recover in the intensive care unit at a local hospital, but she didn’t have enough money to fly down to be with him.

“We got a phone call and it was a total shock,” says Powell.

Powell’s friend contacted Give A Mile, a Calgary-based non-profit that collects airline miles to donate flights to those in need.

The organization determined that she was a candidate, and donated enough air miles to cover her and her sister’s tickets to visit their father in Mexico.

“Within about 12 hours they had arrangements for me and my sister,” Powell said. “They really took all the worry out of it.”

Now, Powell’s father is back in Calgary and recovering well. Powell says this was incredible because the doctors were unsure he would even make it out of Mexico.

“I really do believe that that is what gave him the strength to pull through and get back to Canada,” says Powell. “He couldn’t believe that his daughters were there.”

Powell is one of many who has been gifted a flight by Give A Mile.

“Our mission is pretty straightforward,” says Kevin Blanchette, a founding board member at Give A Mile. “We bring loved ones together so they can experience a final time, a final visit, with either a loved one or family.”

People can donate their unused airline points; these donations fund all the flights provided by the organization. Cash donations and larger contributions are both accepted as well.

“We rely on donations from individuals and corporations, both financially and from loyalty points, to be able to help us deliver on our mission,” says Blanchette.

Give A Mile has given out over 800 flights, in over 150 countries since 2013.

“We’re approaching our thousandth flight here in the next, I would say, under a year,” says Blanchette.

Read the rest at Calgary Journal

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