Brent Bidston is the president and lead pilot with Angel Flight East Kootenay. Black Press file photo.

Brent Bidston is the president and lead pilot with Angel Flight East Kootenay. Black Press file photo.

Save-On-Foods fundraising for Kootenay-based medical flight service

Fundraiser will go towards Angel Flight East Kootenay, which flies patients to Kelowna for appointments

Save-On-Foods stores across the Kootenays are holding a fundraiser to raise money for Angel Flight East Kootenay, a local not-for-profit medical transport organization.

Stores in Kimberley, Cranbrook, Sparwood, Fernie, Golden and Nelson will be joining together in hopes of raising money for the organization, which flies patients from the Kootenays to treatment centres in Kelowna at no cost.

Last year, Save-On-Foods’ inaugural fundraiser for Angel Flight East Kootenay, raised just over $19,000 for the volunteer and non-profit service, significantly smashing the $12,000 goal.

Each store location will be initiating a unique and different type of fundraiser; for example, last year, Save-On-Foods locations asked customers if they were willing to round up their purchases to the nearest dollar, with the excess change going towards Angel Flight East Kootenay.

The fundraiser will be running from Nov. 12 to 15 in all store locations.

Angel Flight East Kootenay is a volunteer flight service founded by Brent Bidston and Todd Weslake, who fly patients out of the East and West Kootenays to medical appointments in Kelowna.

Often, appointments with medical specialists last less than one hour, which can be inconvenient or a hardship for someone who must drive a 14-hour round trip, while also needing overnight accommodations.

With Angel Flight East Kootenay, the two pilots can fly a patient into Kelowna so they attend their specialist appointment, and fly back to the East Kootenay without having to make the long journey by car.