The International Grenfell Association (IGA) is sharing a story of collaboration between three organizations working together to help a citizen from Northern Newfoundland. First Step’s Mark Wilkoff recently learned of an elderly patient who needed medical care in St. John’s but could not afford the transportation cost to get to St. John’s. The elderly person also was not able to sort out travel arrangements on their own.  Understanding the need, Mark put together a plan to work with Hope Air for transportation and with Eastern Health Accommodations for lodging.

Mark first gathered the information needed for him to apply to Hope Air on the patient’s behalf. Mark then directly contacted the Hope Air team to secure their help in the application process and to hash out a plan to get the patient to the much-needed medical appointments. Consequently, Hope Air agreed to arrange for the round-trip flights from St. Anthony to St. John’s and back, while First Step covered the cost of lodging for the individual.

The IGA awarded grants to both Hope Air and First Step in 2021 as well as in previous years.   First Step, founded in 2017, assists with medical travel costs from people living on the northern tip of Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula. Since 2017 it has assisted with over 300 medical trips, many of these funded with IGA financial support. The IGA feels passionate about partnering with organizations serving the residents of Coastal Labrador and Northern Newfoundland.


“First Step always enjoys collaborating with other IGA partners to help people get access to the health care they need”, Mr. Wilkoff said.


This story shows the profound impact that partnership and collaboration between organizations can have on the community. It also sheds a light on a tight knit community looking out for those who need care.