A dedicated group of local volunteers has raised $16,000 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), representing their fundraising efforts with the support of the community over the past year.
"The RFDS performs 15 aeromedical evacuations in South Australia every day, transporting a patient for life-saving surgery or specialist medical treatment," says Garry Woods, President of the RFDS Gawler & District Support Group.
"Those living in rural and regional areas are all too familiar with the tyranny of distance and the importance of access to specialist care in times of medical emergency," Mr Woods says.
Since last year's donation the RFDS has introduced to operational service the RFDS Medi-Jet 24, South Australia's first purpose-built aeromedical jet. The capital investment in the $13 million aircraft was funded solely by bequests, sponsorships and donations from the community.
"We feel very humbled to have played our part with others in raising the funds for the RFDS to purchase the ultimate 'flying intensive care unit', capable of slashing total mission times of long-haul patient evacuations from the outback or interstate to specialist medical care," Mr Woods says.
Graphic: A group of people holding an oversized cheque smile at the camera. They are standing in front of a RFDS aircraft.
"The new RFDS Medi-Jet 24 has just completed its first 100 days of operational service, airlifting 128 patients to specialist care at a major hospital, providing the finest care in the air every step of the way," he says.
"I extend my sincere thanks to every member of the RFDS Gawler & District Support Group for their hard work and commitment, and to our local community for their on-going support of our fundraising activities.
"So much can be achieved when people work together for a common goal."
Mr Woods presented the $16,000 donation to RFDS Central Operation Chief Executive, Tony Vaughan, and Volunteer Coordinator, Lindy Allchurch, at the group's AGM on Tuesday 1 October.
"This year's donation takes the group's total contribution to the Flying Doctor to more than $134,000 since it began fundraising in 2006, which is a remarkable achievement," Ms Allchurch says.
"The latest donation, like those before, will be used to help meet the shortfall in our operational funding and to finance our capital-raising program for the purchase of our 'flying intensive care units' - the next to arrive later this year," Ms Allchurch says.
"On behalf of everyone at RFDS we offer our heartfelt thanks for your hard work and service to your local community," Ms Allchurch said.
Enquiries to get involved with RFDS Gawler & District Support Group are always welcome.
Contact the RFDS Gawler & District Support Group President Garry Woods on 0438 831 522.