Annual Appeal Aim is ‘Saving Lives Together’

29th, May, 2024

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service is launching its annual End of Financial Year Appeal, taking the opportunity to acknowledge the generosity of the communities it serves in ‘saving lives together.’

On average the Service’s aircraft and critical care medical teams are tasked by NSW Ambulance up to 4 times a day from any one of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service’s bases in Lismore, Tamworth and Belmont, flying over 1,500 missions a year into communities across Northern NSW.

The face of this year’s appeal is baby Henry, whose family know just how important the Service is and how community support plays such a vital role in helping save local lives.

Henry was born in June 2023 and required 17 minutes of CPR at birth to stabilise his heart rate and breathing. Tests revealed that Henry had a congenital diaphragmatic hernia, resulting in some of his organs moving upwards into the cavity under his heart. Further tests then revealed that Henry also had a coarctation of the aorta, where part of the aorta was narrower than usual.

Henry’s chances of survival dropped significantly and he needed an urgent transfer from John Hunter Hospital to the specialist facilities and staff of Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney.

“We were told Henry wouldn’t make it to Westmead in an ambulance and to hear he was going to be airlifted brought nothing but tears of hope,”said Henry’s parents Michelle and Nick.

Baby Henry’s transfer had the best medical equipment on board to help get him safely to Westmead Children’s Hospital – with the helicopter’s critical care medical team and in Henry’s case, specialist neonatal nursing staff that escorted him in flight.

Once at Westmead, baby Henry underwent two major operations including an 8-hour open heart surgery and finally, after three months of specialist care, baby Henry happily went home for the first time.

“We’re so very grateful and in debt to the amazing services the Westpac Rescue Helicopter has provided for our family and we know they do the same for so many others as well,” Michelle said.

Being able to share stories like Henry’s and the impact that community support during the annual appeal is making on the lives of the patients transported and their families is something that Michelle and Nick hope will encourage public donations.

“Donating towards your local Westpac Rescue Helicopter base means your support stays local to benefit your community and help save local lives – making a difference to the lives of people in your community just like Henry,” Michelle concluded.

To make a tax deductible donation before June 30, visit www.rescuehelicopter.com.au/appeal