In pain, in shock and in the middle of nowhere



Picture the scene...

...a bleached white beach on an endless expanse of emerald blue ocean
...a man shouting help in the surf with a bleeding 10yr old boy in his arms
...the word “shark” on his lips
...the nearest proper hospital – 1,108 kilometres away

I’m sure you’ll agree, this could only be Australia.

Probably, the only place in the world where something so dramatic could happen to an ordinary family so far away from everywhere... and still end well.

It happened to Blake Bartlett and his son Jackson last summer. And something like it will happen to another family this summer, maybe even to people you know. And when it does, someone will call the Flying Doctor, because there is no other way home.

The only way home... is you.


They were an ordinary Australian family that decided to do something extraordinary after their lives were rocked when Blake had a stroke at 33 years old. They started saving hard and working harder to make their dream of exploring the Australian outback with their children in a 22-foot caravan possible.

Life on the road was every bit as wonderful as they had hoped. And everything was going perfectly.  Until suddenly... it wasn't.

The Bartletts were in Coral Bay, Western Australia when their Flying Doctor moment happened. Blake and Jackson were snorkelling on a reef about 75 meters from shore. What happened next is etched in Blake’s memory...

“We’d been out for about 45 minutes, and it was time to head back in, so I popped my head up said to Jackson, ‘Come on mate, let’s go back in.’

He was about 4 meters away from me, and said:
 ‘There’s a shark, there’s a shark! It bit me!’

He started swimming frantically towards me. I put my head under the water and saw quite a bit of blood. I thought, I’ve got to get him in NOW!” 

You don’t have time to think. There was blood coming out of Jackson’s foot, I didn’t know if we were getting trailed by the shark. I was trying to run on the water. Yelling out to people on the beach, ‘Help, help!’ Just screaming.”

After struggling back to shore, Blake laid Jackson on the beach. He’d lost both of his flippers when the shark had taken a couple of bites at his feet, leaving him with two nasty wounds, the worst, a deep, 17cm long gash on his lower leg.

Thankfully, there were two holidaying doctors on the beach who were able to get hold of a first aid kit and stop Jackson losing any more blood.

Both of the doctors patched up his wounds but knew instantly that he was going to need proper paediatric care in Perth, over 1,000 kilometres away.

Within minutes, one of them was on the phone to the Flying Doctor.

Jackson Plane

Because when something like this happens, there is no other way home.
And that’s exactly why your support for the Flying Doctor is so important - because the unexpected always happens.

People who know that the only way Australians can do what they love, with the people they love, in the places they love, miles away from anywhere, without fear, without doubt, and without a second thought, is because they know they can count on the Flying Doctor to get them safely home if it all goes horribly wrong.

And the only reason they can count on us, is because we know we can always count on you.

Please donate today.