Five Manitoba business and community leaders have helped raise $155,000 for the STARS air ambulance.
The annual Rescue on the Island event is a one-day fundraiser that’s brought in more than $1.4 million in the six years it’s been running.
The participants were stranded on an uninhabited island in Whiteshell Provincial Park the morning of Sept. 6. To secure their ‘rescue’ they needed to use their cellphones and personal network to raise as much as possible.
Participant James Wall, who is the service manager for Janzen Chevrolet in Winkler spoke of his deeply personal reason for participating.
“We needed STARS a year and a half ago,” he said. “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 who might need them.”
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 schoolyard 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 participants were McKitrick, Wall and:
- Furlon Barker, councillor, Hollow Water First Nation;
- Roberta Galbraith, member relations manager, Manitoba Canola Growers;
- Rocky Neufeld, appraiser, Colliers International Realty Advisors.
Similar events ran earlier this year in Alberta and Saskatchewan.