More than $516,000 was raised by five Saskatchewan community and business leaders at the second annual Rescue on the Prairie fundraising event for STARS air ambulance, held Thursday at a remote prairie location near St. Denis, SK.
“I was really honoured that I was chosen to participate,” said Kindersley-based participant Garth MacDonald. “It’s been fun. It’s for a good cause, and if we all take our turn, STARS will be here when we need them.”
The participants were airlifted by STARS to the western-themed location, where they competed against each other to raise the most funds using their mobile phones and personal networks.
Tina Bird, of Estevan, entered the event having already achieved her goal of $50,000, raised through the many local fundraisers she hosted, including bake sales, pancake breakfasts and barbecues. “I’ve been blown away by the support of the community leading up to today, but I’m not stopping now!” she said, during the event.
Each individual participated in a series of challenges, including a flight readiness race, a simulated medical scenario with four procedures including an intubation and CPR on a mannequin; a fundraising challenge to see who could raise the most money over the phone in thirty minutes; and—in keeping with this year’s western theme—a calf roping competition. Winners of the challenges received sponsored cash prizes to go toward their individual fundraising totals.
This year’s community leader participants included:
• Doug Lapchuk – President, Sask. Volunteer Firefighters Association
• Garth MacDonald – CEO, G-MAC’s AgTeam Inc.
• Grant Greenslade – Director, Spartan Energy; Chairman, Twilight Drilling
• Grant McGrath – President & CEO, Western Sales Ltd.
• Tina Bird – Safety Advisor, AECOM
“Our organization relies on community support to operate, and funds raised from this event will help us to continue providing care and transport for critically ill and injured patients across the province.”
In Saskatchewan, STARS needs to raise 50 per cent of its operating funds, about $10.5 million annually to operate the Regina and Saskatoon bases. This is achieved through corporate sponsorship, fundraising and community support. Rescue on the Prairie has become the organization’s largest one-day fundraiser.
STARS had a backup helicopter brought in for the event, while the active on-duty aircraft remained mission ready at the Saskatoon base.
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