Our Patron
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RB T38 steps webThe crew of Give Hope Wings is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Roberta L Bondar as Patron of its ambitious project, a flight around the Americas in support of Hope Air.

“I have been a keen supporter and admirer of the Hope Air Mission for a number of years,” said Dr. Bondar – physician, scientist, astronaut and pilot.

“When I heard about this innovative project by four retired Canadian businessmen/pilots, I was happy to lend my name in support of its goal to publicize and raise money for this noble Canadian Charity.”

Pilot Dave McElroy said: “We are humbled and honored to have Dr. Bondar onboard as our Patron. We’ve set an ambitious goal of raising more than $500,000 for Hope Air. We will take 60 days to do our continental orbit - which is about 59 days and 23 hours longer than she spent covering the same distance a few years back.”

Dr. Bondar was the world’s first neurologist in space and is globally recognized for her pioneering contribution to space medicine research. Aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery mission STS-42 in 1992, she conducted experiments in the first International Microgravity Laboratory, a precursor to the International Space Station.

She holds a BSC in Zoology and Agriculture, an MSc in Experimental Pathology, a PhD in Neurobiology, an MD, and is a Board Certified Neurologist, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. She sub-specialized in Neuro-ophthalmology at Tufts New England Medical Center in Boston and at Toronto Western Hospital.

For more than a decade at NASA, Dr. Bondar headed an international space medicine research team finding new connections between astronauts recovering from the microgravity of space and neurological illnesses here on Earth such as stroke and Parkinson’s disease. These research techniques have been used in clinical studies at the B. I. Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and at the University of New Mexico.

A true renaissance woman, Dr. Bondar was trained in professional nature and landscape photography, and is an acclaimed photographer of the natural wonders of our planet. She is the author of four best-selling photo essay books featuring her stunning photography of the Earth: Passionate Vision ~ Discovering Canada’s National Parks, Canada ~ Landscape of Dreams, The Arid Edge of Earth which features deserts of the world and the Canadian Arctic deserts and Touching the Earth the story of her astronaut experiences. Her photographic works are in private, corporate and institutional collections in Canada, the USA and England.

Dr. Bondar served for six years as Chancellor of Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. She is Co-Founder and President of The Roberta Bondar Foundation, created to inspire all ages and to connect with our natural environment through the lens of photography (http://www.therbf.org).

As an author, environmental educator and celebrated landscape photographer, Dr. Bondar has also earned a reputation as a leading speaker and consultant within the medical and scientific communities, and in the field of corporate social responsibility and care for the Earth's environment. She is an examiner for the Institute of Corporate Directors, Toronto Ont.

Among many honours and awards, Dr. Bondar is appointed to Officer, the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, a recipient of 27 honorary doctorates from Canadian and American universities, and honoured with her own star on Canada’s Walk of Fame. Dr. Bondar has been recognized with the NASA Spaceflight Medal, inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, the International Women’s Forum Hall of Fame and is a Specially Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada for her pioneering research in space medicine. She is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.