With donations still coming in, more than $155,000 has been raised for STARS air ambulance by five Manitoba business and community leaders at Rescue on the Island 2018.
Held Sept. 6 on an uninhabited island in Whiteshell Provincial Park, Rescue on the Island is STARS’ largest one-day fundraiser in Manitoba, raising more than $1.4 million in the last six years thanks to the tremendous support of allies in the province.
“We needed STARS a year and a half ago,” said 2018 participant James Wall, who is the service manager for Janzen Chevrolet in Winkler. “My son was airlifted; he was in a bad car accident. He didn’t make it but he survived four days because of STARS and that got us four more days to spend with him. After that I learned more about what STARS is and what they do and it made me want to help raise money for them and keep them around for the next person that might need them.”
The participants were stranded on the island Thursday morning. To secure their ‘rescue’ and return to civilization, they needed to fundraise as much as possible from the island using their mobile phones and personal networks.
Each individual participated in a series of challenges, including a simulated medical scenario and survival challenges. The opportunity to learn more about STARS’ operations hands-on through the challenges enabled participants to gain a deeper appreciation of the real-life challenges faced by the STARS medical and aviation crew.
“STARS lands in the school yard across the street from where I live” said Cheryl McKitrick of Crystal City, a longtime Lion’s Club member and Registered Nurse. “When I hear the noise of the (helicopter) coming I know that some family is in need.”
This year’s brave participants were:
• Cheryl McKitrick, Lion’s Club member and Registered Nurse
• James Wall, Service Manager, Janzen Chevrolet, Winkler
• Furlon Barker, Councillor, Hollow Water First Nation
• Roberta Galbraith, Member Relations Manager, Manitoba Canola Growers
• Rocky Neufeld, Appraiser, Colliers International Realty Advisors
Rescue on the Island was the second of three “rescue” fundraisers for STARS this year with Alberta’s CEO Rescue in the Rockies held in June and Rescue on the Prairies in Saskatchewan on Sept. 13.
STARS brought in a backup helicopter for this event, leaving the active on-duty aircraft mission ready at the Winnipeg base.