October 9, 2017
Every time the RACQ LifeFlight helicopter flies out of Toowoomba to the South Burnett, it costs $12,500 … that was the figure shared by LifeFlight representative Nikki Bloom at the recent Family Fun Day held in Kingaroy.
And the monthly fuel bill for the Toowoomba LifeFlight base alone is $90,000.
The service receives government funding, but this covers just 69 per cent of costs, Nikki said, which is why donations from the public are still so important.
Past patient Cardell Turner hosted the inaugural Family Fun Day at Memorial Park to support the rescue helicopter service which saved his life.
Cardell was airlifted by the Toowoomba-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter after he was involved in a horrific dirt bike accident last September.
The father of two pledged to give back to LifeFlight, organising a day of family-friendly activities to help raise money for the LifeFlight Foundation.
There was pig racing, a car crash rescue simulation by Kingaroy firefighters and the opportunity to dunk local community members in LifeFlight’s first fundraising dunking tank.
Two of the first to go under were South Burnett councillors Ros Heit and Danita Potter, both sunk by well-aimed balls thrown by young Ryan Jones, 13.
(Ryan is the son of fellow councillor Gavin Jones but we’re not sure if Ryan was acting on his father’s instructions …)
There was also live music, a jumping castle, raffles and food stalls.
Cardell took to the stage to share his remarkable tale of survival in an emotional speech.
“As someone who has been personally rescued by this service, I know without LifeFlight, I would not be here today to kiss my wife and hug my two children,” Cardell said.
“It was great to see so many community members, local personalities and businesses come out in support of the Kingaroy Family Fun Day to help raise money for LifeFlight.
“Of course, this day would not have been possible without our major sponsors, CROW-FM, Stanwell and Bill Hull Car Centre.”
Nikki said Cardell had put in a phenomenal effort to bring the Family Fun Day together.
“Thank you to everyone who came out in support of Lifeflight and Cardell. The generous philanthropy of the South Burnett community continues to amaze us.
“With your continued support we can ensure our helicopters and air ambulance jets are there for anyone, anywhere and at any time,” she said.
More than 1042 LifeFlight airlifts were performed in the Wide Bay-Burnett region last financial year.
There were 303 missions flown in the South Burnett; 302 along the Fraser Coast; 138 in the North Burnett; 141 in the Bundaberg region; and 120 in Gympie.