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Home News Critical Care on the Air raises $403,000 for STARS Air Ambulance

Critical Care on the Air raises $403,000 for STARS Air Ambulance

Critical Care on the Air raises $403,000 for STARS Air Ambulance
A STARS helicopter sits on the tarmac ready to take off. -- Photo from STARS Facebook page.

Listeners raised more than $403,000 for STARS Air Ambulance during the second annual Critical Care on the Air radiothon on April 13-14.

A total of 37 radio stations took part in the 24-hour radiothon, with proceeds going towards the purchase of new butterfly ultrasound machines.

STARS foundation director of donor relations Jeri-Lynn Johnston said the new machines make STARS helicopters the equivalent of a flying intensive care unit.

“We often say that STARS was built by the community for the community,” Johnston said in a media release. “We’re really in awe of the generosity from individuals, groups and businesses across this great province who have made our second annual Critical Care on the Air Radiothon another huge success.”

Johnston said the money will help make sure STARS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for Saskatchewan residents. She also said it was an honour to share so many stories from residents about how STARS was a lifeline to them or their loved ones when they needed it most.

“We extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone for your contribution to Critical Care on the Air,” Johnston said. “Please know that your support rides along with us on every mission, helping us fight to save lives each and every day.”

STARS carries out an average of eight missions per day across Western Canada. They flew 901 missions in Saskatchewan last year alone.

The provincial government provides roughly 50 per cent of the funds needed to operate STARS in Saskatchewan. The STARS Foundation is responsible for the remaining $10.5 million annually through fundraisers like Critical Care on Air.

Four STARS Very Important Patients were out raising funds prior to the radiothon as a way to give back to the organization. Cheryl Dubois was one of those patients. She said STARS transportation was vital when she and her daughter were in a serious collision on a cold winter night.

“If I wouldn’t have gotten to the operating room that quickly, I would have died,” Dubois said in a media release. “I am grateful every day for the life that I still have, and it is only possible because of STARS being there for me. We are so lucky to have STARS in Saskatchewan.”

STARS embarked on their first flight in 1985. They offer rapid emergency medical transportation for the critically ill and injured out of bases in Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie and Winnipeg.