The north-east’s lifesaving air ambulance paramedics are looking to reconnect with the scores of people they have helped in the year since they took to the skies.
Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) launched its second aircraft from Aberdeen airport on April 3.
To mark the occasion, they – and The P&J – are eager to share the stories of those they have helped to mark a first year like no other, as coronavirus completely changed the environment they would be operating in.
Helimed 79, an EC 135 T2E copter, has been called out more than 180 times already, to provide expert medical care to people in their time of need.
They have proven a lifeline support for critically ill patients in the north-east, as well as further afield in Moray, the northern reaches of the Highlands and even Orkney.
But due to Covid restrictions the crew has been unable to welcome those they have saved to their base in Dyce, or to interact with the public much at all.
‘Each and every patient is special to SCAA’
And chief executive David Craig said hearing from former patients, and how they are recovering, can provide a vital boost to his hard-working paramedics and pilots.
“Each and every patient is special to SCAA and their welfare is important to us,” he said.
“No one tells of the work we do as powerfully and emotively as our patients.
“Their often harrowing yet uplifting personal experiences are a testament to the daily lifesaving efforts, professionalism and commitment of our crews as they battle to overcome distance, time constraints, challenging weather, difficult terrain and life-threatening injury and illness.
“These stories are what inspire the people of Scotland to get behind SCAA and fund our flights – their donations are vital to keeping our service in the air and patient stories are key in highlighting why there is that need.”
It comes as the charity, which launched its first helicopter from Perth in 2013, celebrates a cash award of £200,000.
SCAA is Scotland’s only charity-funded emergency air ambulance service and its two aircraft have now responded to almost 3,000 time-critical emergencies in every corner of the country.
The latest donation from the People’s Postcode Lottery is enough to fund around 80 missions.
The average mission costs £2,500 and fundraisers have faced huge cuts in their usual income streams as most things their loyal fans do to collect cash were cancelled in the pandemic.
Mr Craig said the money was “a lifeline”, not just to those seriously ill or injured, but to the charity itself.
“SCAA relies entirely on public donations and it is support like this which has kept us flying and saving lives throughout these challenging times,” he added.
“We’re so grateful that players of People’s Postcode Lottery recognise the vital work SCAA does throughout the whole of Scotland and have repeatedly supported our service.
“The funding will help save lives as those seriously ill or injured rely on Scaa’s vital pre-hospital emergency response helicopters and crews – and we rely on the public to fund those flights.
“This generous support ensures we sustain what has become a vital frontline response service for the people of Scotland.”
If you can help Scaa celebrate the anniversary of its Aberdeen launch, please contact m.young@Scaa.org.uk with your story.
Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance has made a huge impact since 2013, saving lives and preventing suffering.
That is why the P&J campaigned successfully for Scaa’s second helicopter to be based in our region.
It has now been almost a year since the aircraft – call sign Helimed 79 – started flying missions from Aberdeen Airport.
But this is an emergency service that relies entirely on donations.
Each call-out costs about £2,500 and SCAA needs P&J readers to help hit its £6million target to cover the cost of its first three years operating in the north-east.
So please do anything you can to raise those funds and show that We’re Backing Helimed 79.
Ways to donate to SCAA
- Website: www.scaa.org.uk/donate
- Text: Text ‘SCAA’ and the amount to 70085
- Phone: 03001231111
- Cheques: Made payable to ‘SCAA’ or ‘Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance’ and sent to: Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA), The Control Tower, Perth Airport, Scone, PH2 6PL