Two men in RFDS uniforms push a stretcher towards a RFDS plane.

Sunraysia volunteers raise $7,000 for Flying Doctor

Date published

26 Sep 2019

A dedicated group of local volunteers has raised $7,000 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), representing their fundraising efforts with the support of the community over the past year.

“The RFDS lands in Mildura at least once a week to airlift patients to one of Adelaide’s or Melbourne’s major hospitals for life-saving surgery or specialist medical treatment,” says Lew Burke, President of the RFDS Sunraysia Support Group.

“Those of us living in the country are all too familiar with the tyranny of distance and the importance of access to specialist care in times of medical emergency,” Mr Burke says.

A group of people sit on a couch smiling at the camera.

“The RFDS provides this vital access, not to just for those of us living in the Sunraysia region, but to more than 300,000 Australians every year – in the outback, from the regions and in the city alike,” he 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 $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 Burke says.

“The new RFDS Medi-Jet 24 has just completed its first 100 days of operational service, of which it has landed in Mildura on five occasions to airlift patients to Adelaide,” he says.

“I extend my sincere thanks to every member of the RFDS Sunraysia 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 Burke presented a $7,000 donation to Lindy Allchurch, Volunteer Coordinator of RFDS Central Operations, at the group’s AGM on Wednesday 25 September.

“This year’s donation takes the group’s total contribution to the Flying Doctor to more than $750,000 since it began fundraising in 2000, 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 late 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 Sunraysia Support Group are always welcome. Contact the RFDS Sunraysia Support Group President Lew Burke on (03) 5051 9917.