Graphic: RFDS aircraft
The Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) (RFDS) has announced a three-year community partnership with Racing Queensland’s Country Cups Challenge to help raise vital funds for regional, rural and remote communities.
The fundraising initiative will launch at Atherton on Saturday 17 September and continue at all 16 Country Cups Challenge events across the state, with racing clubs supporting the RFDS through donation tins, raffles and other raceday related activities.
Over the next three years, the community partnership is expected to generate more than $500,000 for the RFDS, who have served the community for more than 90 years.
In the 16 communities across Queensland where the Country Cup Challenge series will be held, the RFDS provided care on more than 14,652 occasions in the last year alone, via aeromedical emergency care and patient transfers, primary health care, mental health care, telehealth consultations and immunisations. This included almost 3,000 RFDS flights through the local airports.
Additionally, Cloncurry is one of the host towns in the Country Cups Challenge, which was where the first ever RFDS flight took off from 94 years ago in 1928 to retrieve two patients from Julia Creek.
RFDS (Queensland Section) Chief Executive Officer Meredith Staib said the RFDS is dedicated to improving the health of people in regional, rural and remote Australia.
“More than half of Queensland’s population live outside of the Greater Brisbane area and funds raised for the RFDS mean that those living in areas like those where the Country Cups Challenge events are held, can receive the healthcare they need while also being better connected to the state’s metropolitan hospitals," Ms Staib said.
“To continue to deliver this life-saving care to Queenslanders, no matter where they live - 24 hours a day, seven days a week - we rely heavily on the generosity of individuals, community groups, businesses and the corporate sector and we are incredibly appreciative of this support from Racing Queensland’s Country Cups Challenge and the communities we serve.”
Racing Minister Grace Grace said she was proud to see Queensland racing partnering with the RFDS.
“As we know, country racing clubs play an important role creating good jobs and enhancing the great lifestyle of our regional communities," Ms Grace said.
“I look forward to the Country Cups Challenge playing an important fundraising role for such an iconic organisation.”
Presently, the RFDS boasts a number of existing racing relationships, including the recent Birdsville Races.
Support via community partnerships such as these help the RFDS to purchase new aircraft, invest in critical infrastructure, upgrade life-saving medical equipment, and deliver essential primary health care and mental health services to rural and remote communities.