Following a COVID-19 hit 2020, and restrictions on fundraising activities, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service (WRHS) needs everyone’s support more than ever.
The organisation launched its annual End of Financial Year (EOFY) Appeal this week in the hopes of garnering a much-needed boost to its coffers.
In the first four months of 2021, the service’s three bases at Newcastle, Tamworth and Lismore have flown in excess of 500 missions.
And, on average, the chopper flies over 1500 missions a year, including responding to emergency Triple Zero (000) calls, inter-hospital transfers and search and rescue.
To kick off the EOFY campaign, the WRHS also gave the community a unique “behind the scenes” perspective with NSW Health doctor Rob Bartolacci.
Dr Bartolacci, who is a member of the on-board Helicopter Critical Care Medical Team, was humbled to front the Appeal and, at the same time, appreciated the opportunity to share the vital role the service plays in saving lives across Northern NSW.
“It’s hard to imagine a person who hasn’t been touched directly or indirectly by the WRHS,” he said.
CEO Richard Jones OAM admitted the WRHS was proud to deliver the very best in aeromedical support for those in need 24-7.
But, he stressed it came at a huge financial cost, too.
“Each year the community is so generous and I hope that thanks to Dr Rob, they can see where this support goes and the potential every donation, large or small, has to change people’s lives,” Mr Jones said.
“This truly is a community-run service.
“Every year we see that a little from many goes a long way and we are ever so grateful for that.
“However, we’re also mindful that across Northern NSW, having endured COVID-19, drought, bushfires and most recently the flooding on the Mid-North Coast, donations may be difficult for many.
“We are all in this together and we hope our Appeal reaches out to everyone, with those who are able, taking the opportunity to make their support count.
“We are very conscious that not everyone is in a position to donate but we will be very grateful to those who can.
“These vital funds will ensure the WRHS keeps flying across Northern NSW.”
The community can make donations to the Service’s Appeal at www.rescuehelicopter.com.au/appeal or by FREECALL 1800 155 155.