Hannah Blake

The Northland Rescue Helicopters are a phenomenal asset to the region – one with many hard to reach rural locations, gullies, natural bush areas and huge industries such as forestry and boating, that add to the need for this service.

This service has been in operation for 30 years this year, and we know we will need it for many more.

I myself haven’t had personal experience with the helicopter, I have been fortunate enough to avoid the need for an emergency flight – but I am still affected by friends that have needed their services.

Last year, my brother passed away in a horrific, and tragic, motorbike crash north of Auckland. He had been out doing what he loved best – an afternoon ride on his Harley. He had all the safety gear but that didn’t help in a head on collision with another motorbike rider. That rider is alive today because of the care that they received from the Northland Rescue Choppers and the resulting care at the hospital he was flown to. While it was too late for my brother, I find solace in the fact that it didn’t become a double fatality that day thanks to the service that I have supported for the past few years.

My friend has a beautiful healthy two-year-old son, who loves to get into everything – whether it’s the pantry, the butter in the fridge or his mum’s cosmetics. We have a good laugh these days at his daily adventures – but there was no laughter or smiles moments after his birth when the midwife noticed that something wasn’t right with the newborn.

Within a short space of time, the doctors at Whangarei Hospital had alerted Starship and experts were flown in to run tests and take the baby back to the specialist cardiac unit for children in preparation for his first of two surgeries. At one week old, he had open heart surgery. A frightening time for any parent. Had he not been flown to specialist care in Auckland, this crazy gorgeous toddler could have had a much different story.

And these are two examples I have had a personal link to. There are hundreds more stories like this happening every day, of every year.

And in both of these examples, no one thought their day would include an emergency flight in a rescue helicopter. I often hear the words “you never know when you might need it” – never a truer word spoken. My friend didn’t go to hospital to birth her baby with the thought she would be waving him off barely hours later accompanied by a specialist team.

But she did.

So to everyone out there that ponders supporting this great cause, please do. And next time you drive past the hangar on the edge of Kensington Park in Whangarei and notice its empty, or watch on as a helicopter lands at a local hospital getting ready to speed away again in haste – just take a moment to think of what life-saving or life-altering story is unfolding at that exact moment.

Donate. And help save a life. Help to create a positive story from what could be a tragic or life-defining situation.