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Fundraising call to help Air Ambulance NI this Christmas

This year the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) recorded its busiest months since the service commenced in July 2017.

The service experienced an increase of 30 per cent on the number of call outs during the first quarter of 2021 compared to the previous year, followed by its busiest month to date in July 2021 when it were tasked 78 times in total and clocked up 44 flying hours.

The local charity Air Ambulance Northern Ireland is now appealing for public support this Christmas to help fund the continuous growth of the service to ensure it can always be there for local people like two-year-old Joey Strahan.

On his second birthday, whilst waiting for his party guests to arrive, Joey landed awkwardly on the bouncy castle and broke multiple bones in his leg.

The HEMS team arrived in the air ambulance and treated Joey before airlifting him to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children

Joey’s mum Hollie Anne said: “It was a worrying day and awful to see Joey in so much pain.

“Thankfully the team were brilliant, and it calmed us all down when the air ambulance team gave Joey the pain relief he needed.”

Air Ambulance NI is offering a host of different options to support the charity this Christmas, including items for sale in the shop www.airambulanceni.org, becoming a member of the Club AANI for adults and Junior Club AANI for kids, and Christmas E-cards to name a few.

There is also a competition with four terrific prizes up for grabs: a PlayStation 5 (disc edition), £500 voucher for Rushmere Shopping Centre, 30-minute helicopter flight with Mid Ulster Aviation Ltd, and four tickets to see this year’s Pantomime, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, at the Grand Opera House and an overnight stay for the family at Clayton Hotel, Belfast, on Boxing night!

n Entry for the Christmas Competition closes on Friday, December 3, at noon and the prize winners will be drawn on December 4. Enter today for your chance to win: airambulanceni.org/christmas-competition/

Kerry Anderson, Head of Fundraising at Air Ambulance NI, said: “We are very aware that behind every call out is a local patient like Joey.

“The medical team attend incidents that range from limb threatening to life threatening and the interventions they bring to scene can be the difference between life and death.

“Such a crucial service for everyone means we need everyone’s support to help raise the £5,500 needed daily to sustain operations.

“As well as the usual fundraising we have created an area online for supporters to upload a message in memory or support of a loved one.”

n You can find more information on all the above ways to fundraise and support at www.airambulanceni.org or contact the charity directly on 028 9262 2677.

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