The Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) is encouraging people to support their cause this February as part of their annual “Love Your Air Ambulance” initiative.
The air ambulance charity, which covers Bath, Bristol and the surrounding areas is fundraising for a new helicopter.
The charity, based in Filton, Bristol, is currently trying to raise £250,000 of additional funds for a new Eurocopter EC 135 helicopter in order to replace the ageing Bölkow 105 model that it currently uses.
A new helicopter would attend to patients four minutes faster, would allow a mother and child to fly to hospital together and would allow more space for the patient, equipment and mid-air treatment. So far, the charity has raised 72% of its target.
During February, local businesses, schools and community groups are being encouraged to “love” their local air ambulance by wearing red or pink for a dress down day, by holding a raffle or a heart themed cake sale, or by completing a sponsored run or walk to get their heart pumping.
On 26th August 2012, Richard George, 49, suffered a cardiac arrest after having played in a charity football match. After the game, he started feeling unwell with chest pains but did not realise he was having a heart attack, a few minutes later his heart stopped beating.
One of the other players dialled 999 and within a few minutes, a road ambulance with two paramedics arrived, but it was decided that the advanced skills of the Great Western Air Ambulance crew were also required, and the helicopter landed on the football pitch with critical care paramedic John Wood and critical care doctor Phil Cowburn on board.
The GWAA critical care team assisted the road ambulance paramedics, providing advanced lifesaving interventions and managed to restart Richard’s heart. They then accompanied Richard in a road ambulance to the BRI where he was rushed to intensive care. He was in a coma for five days and spent 11 days in hospital overall, but has gone on to make a great recovery.
Speaking of the incident, Richard said: “I have no recollection of the day in question and all the information I have has come from my friends and family. One thing I do know is that if it wasn’t for the quick response of my friends and the fantastic professionalism of all the paramedics, cardiac doctors, surgeons and nurses who helped me, I wouldn’t be here today. I have no doubt that the crew of Great Western Air Ambulance played an integral part in saving my life that day.”
John Christensen, Chief Executive of GWAAC, said: “Our air ambulance attends an average of one cardiac arrest per day. With Valentine’s day just around the corner, we are delighted to hold our Love Your Air Ambulance campaign for the second year running – it’s the perfect time to remind the people of our region that our cause relies on the support of the people that we serve in order to continue operating as we receive no Government or National Lottery funding.”
“You never know when you might need us, and that’s why it’s so important for our local community to support our cause and help keep their local air ambulance flying.”
For more information about Love Your Air Ambulance month and to get involved with a fundraising activity, please contact the GWAAC Fundraising team on 0117 9699344, email [email protected] or visit www.loveyourairambulance.com
The team at NOW Bath were pleased to announce yesterday that the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity will be our Charity of the Year for the second year running. Please donate using the banner below to the life-saving charity and help raise funds for the new helicopter.