Regina Mom's Story Wins AIR MILES Memories Grand Prize



    - Heartwarming Story Voted Winner in National Competition -

    TORONTO, Dec. 5 /CNW/ - A heartwarming story of a good friend and a gift
of AIR MILES reward miles is making it possible for a Regina woman and her
family to attend an international conference on the rare medical condition
which her son suffers from.
    Susan Hone's tale of friendship and generosity has been voted the winner
in a nation-wide contest sponsored by the AIR MILES Reward Program. More than
300,000 Canadians voted online for stories by 10 finalists.
    "My son has a very rare syndrome called Barth Syndrome. He is one of
about 10 boys in Canada that I know of who has the syndrome," Hone wrote.
    "In June of 2000, a group of parents from across the world was meeting in
Baltimore, Maryland along with doctors from around the world, including Dr.
Barth, whom the syndrome was named after."
    Hone and her husband had accumulated enough AIR MILES reward miles for
only one flight. Although daunted by the thought of traveling alone to a
strange city, Hone was desperate to learn any new information about Barth
Syndrome which might help her son, Jared.
    She had already lost one child to what she now knows was Barth Syndrome.
The rare condition, which only affects boys, is passed from mother to son.
There is no specific treatment. Severe infections and cardiac failure are
common causes of death in affected children.
    That's where Hone's friend, Judy Dove, came in.
    "She asked how many reward miles I needed for a ticket, and promptly told
me she would get a ticket for my husband with her reward miles. I couldn't
believe my luck in having such a supportive friend," Hone wrote in her winning
entry.
    At the conference, Hone and her husband Chris met Dr. Peter Barth from
the Netherlands, who discovered the syndrome, and they were able to share
experiences and learn from parents from around the world.
    Since that first conference, parents have set up the Barth Syndrome
Foundation and chapters in different countries have raised millions of dollars
to sponsor medical research into the condition. The Hones sit on the executive
of Barth Syndrome Foundation of Canada.
    Hone receives 15,000 AIR MILES reward miles for her winning story - and
plans to use them to travel to the next Barth Syndrome conference with family
members next month.
    "More than 10,000 stories of overcoming challenges, helping those in
need, and the love of family were submitted by AIR MILES Collectors from
coast-to-coast as part of the AIR MILES reward miles For Everyone 'Memories'
competition," said Candice Troupe, Director, AIR MILES Reward Program.
"Susan's story really touched a chord for Canadians. We're proud that AIR
MILES was able to play a small part in helping the Hones make a difference for
their family."

    About the AIR MILES Reward Program
    ----------------------------------
    The AIR MILES Reward Program is Canada's premier coalition loyalty
program, with more than 9 million active Collector accounts representing
approximately two-thirds of Canadian households actively collecting AIR MILES
reward miles with the recognizable blue card.
    The AIR MILES Reward Program allows Collectors to earn travel, leisure,
entertainment and other lifestyle rewards quickly, simply by doing their
everyday shopping for products and services at AIR MILES Sponsors. Collectors
can shop and collect AIR MILES reward miles at more than 100 brand-name
Sponsors across the country, representing thousands of retail and service
locations nationally, including BMO Bank of Montreal, Mosaik MasterCard, RONA,
Shell, SportChek (Sports Experts), American Express, The Shoe Company, A&P,
Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, and airmilesshops.ca.
    The AIR MILES Web site is www.airmiles.ca





For further information:

For further information: MEDIA CONTACT INFO: AIR MILES Reward Program,
(416) 552-2346; Karl Baldauf, Veritas Communications, (416) 482-2248 ext. 574


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