(Left to Right) Kelowna residents Bristol and Henry Debowski

(Left to Right) Kelowna residents Bristol and Henry Debowski

New partnership lets Kelowna family save on medical transportation costs

New Hope Air and Airbnb initiative provides patients free accommodation while traveling to city centres for medical reasons

A new partnership between two high-profile businesses is about to save Kelowna residents Bristol and her son Henry Debowski a lot of stress and money.

Hope Air — a charity that covers financial costs for Canadians travelling for medical reasons — has announced that they’ve partnered with Airbnb to cover free accommodation for those same people travelling.

The Debowskis will be one of the first families to benefit from the new partnership when they stay in a Airbnb free-of-charge next week in Vancouver as part of a medical trip for Henry.

READ MORE: Okanagan Foundation supports Hope Air medical care flights

The families’ lives changed considerably last April when Henry was diagnosed with leukemia on April 8, 2019. After Henry got a blood transfusion at Kelowna General Hospital, the family flew to BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver from Kelowna the next day to find out further treatment options.

It was then the Debowski’s found out they’d have to fly to Vancouver for Henry’s chemotherapy treatments on a routine basis over the next four years.

While Bristol said they’ve already benefited from free transportation costs from the Hope Air charity, she said the additional accommodation costs saved for Henry’s medical trips will be an added bonus.

“This announcement is huge for sure. I won’t have to come up with any amount of money for trips. That money saved from the trip can be used for Henry’s medication and food.”

Bristol said the process for getting the accommodation and travel costs covered is extremely easy.

“You give (Hope Air) your specialist’s information, the date and time of your appointment, your doctor’s contact information, and when you prefer to go,” said Bristol.

“(After), they do a follow-up with the doctor, and they get back to you and say you’re approved.”

With the new Airbnb partnership, Canadians travelling to city centres for medical trips are eligible to have their accommodation costs covered for up to seven nights.

Bristol said she found out about the service when Henry’s grandpa was doing research online about affordable transportation between Kelowna and Vancouver. After the discovery, she estimates that her family has already saved thousands of dollars in transportation costs from Hope Air.

“We’ve probably flown between the two cities close to 30 times,” said Bristol.

“I’m estimating that we’ve saved five to ten thousand dollars from the service so far.”

When asked about what Henry thought of the new service, he had a pretty clear answer.

“ I think it’s amazing.”


@connortrembley
connor.trembley@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

11 more cases of COVID-19 have been linked to a cluster on Big White Mountain. Pictured above is TELUS park at Big White Ski Resort, Jan. 26. (Big White Ski Resort)
11 more cases of COVID-19 linked to Big White cluster

This brings the total case count to 225, according to health authorities in a Tuesday update

Okanagan Clinical Trials is looking at gut bacteria as a way of slowing down the development of Alzheimer’s. (Alzheimer Society of B.C. photo)
Okanagan study looking for volunteers of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

The study is looking at how gut bacteria may help slow the disease

Kevin Lee Barrett pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault of his mother Eleanor Holmes on Tuesday, Jan. 26. (File)
UPDATE: West Kelowna man who beat his mom could be sentenced up to 9 years

Kevin Barrett entered a surprise guilty plea to the lesser charge of aggravated assault on Tuesday morning

A bus at downtown Kelowna’s Queensway Transit Exchange. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna transit system poised for recovery: transit manager

2021 numbers already show ridership levels at or higher than the projected recovery

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Interior Health reported two more COVID-19 deaths at Sunnybank Retirement Center in Oliver Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 claims lives of two more South Okanagan care home residents

Five residents of the Oliver care home have died since the outbreak was first declared

Vernon now has an approved 13 cannabis shops in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon, the ‘Pot capital of B.C.’ greenlights two new stores downtown

Two more shops, within 240 metres, approved, despite neighbouring businesses opposition

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

Oliver Elementary School
Former Oliver PAC treasurer charged with fraud returns to court

Belinda Yorke will be in court to fix a date for trial in February

Two fibreglass bees were stolen from Vernon’s Planet Bee Honey Farm Nov. 22, 2020. (Facebook)
Stolen bee returned to Vernon honey farm

Two months after thieves buzzed off with two bee sculptures, public tips led police one of them

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Most Read