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Virtual fundraiser takes community support from ‘base to base’

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It’s been a tough time for charities to boost their coffers, thanks to COVID-19, but none more so than the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service (WRHS).

However, the organisation’s supporters across Northern NSW are being encouraged to lace up their shoes next month in a virtual fundraiser that’ll take them from “base to base”.

The initiative will see participants walk, run, ride or roll the distance between any of the four WRHS bases, located at Belmont, Broadmeadow, Tamworth and Lismore.

They can engage individually or gather a team to complete a mission together.

Distances will appeal to people of all ages and levels of fitness, ranging from 42km through to a challenging 1,386km full loop between all four bases.

“Our service is there for our community 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” CEO Richard Jones OAM said.

“This event gives the community a chance to move where we fly, all the while learning about how we operate and supporting our great team in the sky and on the ground.

“Whether you are walking 1km a day in October or cycling big kilometres every weekend, there’s a distance for everyone to get involved.”

Base to Base will take people on a virtual journey of the service’s operations across Northern NSW.

As participants travel the distance, they will hear from past patients, learn about the volunteers and upon arrival at a helicopter base be able to experience a virtual tour.

Those taking part can join as individuals or groups including family, friends, work or sporting colleagues, or school friends – no team is too big or too small.

“Base to Base was created as a result of the continuing impact of COVID-19 on our face-to-face community fundraising activities, including Op Shops, volunteering, events and workplace talks leaving a significant shortfall in our [financial] reserves,” Mr Jones said.

“Not only have a lot of our planned events been postponed, but the service was very aware of the mental health toll on members of the community that the additional lockdowns and restrictions arising from the Delta variant is taking.

“October is Mental Health Month, so the idea was for people to be able to get active and work together towards a goal without compromising public health and safety.”

Base to Base is free to enter with participants encouraged to raise funds for the WRHS by sharing their mission with family, friends and colleagues.

“Whether you can join in or simply support a participant for a little bit or a lot, every dollar raised helps us stay ready to respond to our communities in Northern NSW,” Mr Jones said.

“As always, we’re so grateful for everyone’s continued support.”

Participants can register at www.rescuehelicopter.com.au/event

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