Lily Richards

Lily Richards

Little Lily is only three years old and yet has already had more ambulance rides and hospital visits than the average adult.

Having been diagnosed with “life threatening asthma”, Lily’s condition can deteriorate extremely quickly. She has been flown by the Northland Rescue Helicopters three times in two years, these flights being on urgent hospital transfers from Bay of Islands hospital to Whangarei Base Hospital for life saving treatment.

Lily’s mum says without the rescue helicopter service, she hates to think what could have happened as every second seemed to count as Lily battled to breath and struggled to stay alive.

“In her first year, she was a really healthy baby with no health issues at all. That changed the day after her first birthday. She developed bronchiolitis and before long Lily was diagnosed with asthma, which is unusual at that age. You never think these things will happen to you, they always happen to other people!” her mum says.

So far, in her small lifetime, Lily has been through eight ambulance rides, three rescue helicopter transfers and had five admissions to the Whangarei Base Hospital Intensive Care Unit.

“One minute she would be fine and the next she would be gasping for breath, having respiratory issues, a racing pulse and becoming extremely exhausted. It is very, very scary and all you worry about is getting help as fast as you can,” she says.

“Having been through these very stressful times, experiencing the fear of losing someone as precious as your child, and then getting through it means we are eternally grateful to the rescue choppers.”

“The ambulance crews, flight teams and hospital staff were all extremely professional, calm and very reassuring. Just watching how they all worked together was amazing. It is such a professional and essential service.   My experiences have really made me think about how I can do something to help my community too,” she says.

Candice not only donated some money to the helicopters “because every bit counts”, she says, but now has started training to be a volunteer with St John, the organisation who provides the paramedics on board the flights.

“I just feel it is so important to give back – and that is why I would like to see people donate to the Northland Rescue Chopper campaign too. Every dollar really does help ensure this service is there when we need it most.”

“Without the helicopter service and crew that helped get my daughter to the care she needed, who knows what my life could be like now. It is such an amazing service for Northland and this country.”

Candice, who originated from Africa, says that, as Northlanders we need to appreciate the “amazing service” that is available free of charge through the generous fundraising and support of our community.

“I am just ever so grateful and will always be. Please help this essential service by donating generously to the Northland Rescue Helicopter, so they can continue to help save lives.”