Air Canada Foundation and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital give teen sledge hockey player the "trip of a lifetime" to Rio Paralympics

TORONTO, Sept. 13, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - The Air Canada Foundation and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital together provided 17-year-old Jacob Calvert and family the opportunity to see first-hand the inspirational 2016 Paralympic Games, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from September 7-18. 

Jacob, who plays sledge hockey for Team Ontario and aspires to be an Olympian, has femoral facial deficiency syndrome. He has received care at Holland Bloorview for 12 years, starting with prosthetic legs after his leg was amputated at age 5. He continues to receive physiotherapy and rehabilitation care. Jacob was thrilled when the opportunity arose for him to see the 2016 Paralympic Games. So far, he and his family have seen opening ceremonies, swimming and wheelchair basketball. On Monday, took a tour of the Canadian House and Athletes Village.

Jacob began playing sledge hockey at age 8 and is a defenseman on the Cruiser A team. In 2015, Jacob also started playing for Sledge Team Ontario and will be playing with them again in 2016. An aspiring future Olympian, Jacob loves hockey and the challenge of the sport along with moving fast across the ice. He also helps mentor younger kids who are just beginning to learn the game.

"The team at the Air Canada Foundation was incredibly impressed by Jacob's story of courage and determination," said Priscille LeBlanc, Chair of the Air Canada Foundation. "It made Jacob a natural choice when Air Canada, a sponsor of the Canadian team at the Rio Paralympic Games, sought a young ambassador to attend the Games on behalf of the Air Canada Foundation."

"We are so thrilled that Air Canada Foundation and Holland Bloorview made this trip possible. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that is special for all of us, particularly for Jacob who aspires to be an Olympian one day in Sledge Hockey" says Sarah, Jacob's mother.

About the Air Canada Foundation
The Air Canada Foundation, a not-for-profit organization focused on the health and well-being of children and youth, was launched in 2012. It offers both financial and in-kind support, through travel assistance, to Canadian registered charities.  Core programs include the Hospital Transportation Program which donates Aeroplan Miles to pediatric hospitals across Canada enabling children to access medical care unavailable locally and the Volunteer Involvement Program which recognizes the involvement of employees in their local community by providing airline tickets to the registered charities in support of their fundraising initiatives.  The Foundation in collaboration with the airline also engages directly in fundraising activities such as the Every Bit Counts program which encourages customers to donate loose change of all denominations onboard flights or through airport collection containers. The Foundation also offers continued support to major health-related causes that benefit Canadians and is an active participant in international humanitarian relief activity as the need arises.  For more information about the Air Canada Foundation, please visit or the 2015 Corporate Sustainability Report, Citizens of the World, online at

About Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital provides specialized programs and clinical care for children and youth with rehabilitation and complex care needs to enable them to participate in life to the fullest. We are Canada's leading pediatric rehabilitation teaching hospital, dedicated to being at the forefront of clinical care, research and education. As a key resource for Ontario, we are committed to partnerships to build clinical, academic and community capacity to enhance the quality of life for children with rehabilitation and complex care needs and their families. For more information, visit


SOURCE Air Canada Foundation


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For further information: Isabelle Arthur (Montréal),, 514 422-5788; Peter Fitzpatrick (Toronto),, 416 263-5576; Angela Mah(Vancouver),, 604 270-5741; Internet:; Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Michelle Stegnar,, 416 425-6220