Public asked to sponsor a star and raise funds for Cork-based air ambulance

The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service is Ireland’s only charity-funded Air Ambulance and is based in Rathcoole in Cork
Public asked to sponsor a star and raise funds for Cork-based air ambulance

pictured are seven-year-old Adalyn Kenny and six-year-old Harvey O'Mahony from Dromahane, Mallow, Co Cork helping to launch the appeal along with helicopter pilot Donagh Verling. pic: Brian Lougheed.

The Irish Community Air Ambulance is calling on supporters and businesses to help it Light Up The Sky and sponsor a star to fund lifesaving missions this Christmas.

The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) is Ireland’s only charity-funded Air Ambulance and responds to serious incidents and medical emergencies every day of the year, including Christmas Day, from its base in Rathcoole in Cork.

There were 42 taskings during December 2020, including one on Christmas Day. Crews launched 12 times between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve to counties Cork, Clare, Kerry, Limerick and Waterford costing an estimated €42,000.

Each helicopter mission costs an average of €3,500, all of which has to be raised or donated. The HEMS Air Ambulance has been tasked by the National Ambulance Service to 468 incidents so far in 2021 with one in five calls being to cardiac arrests, followed by road traffic collisions and farming incidents.

Cork accounts for more than a third of all incidents (37%), followed by Kerry with 23%. Both Tipperary and Clare account for 12% of missions in 2021. Kerry, Tipperary and Clare have all seen an increase in taskings when compared to 2020.

CEO of the Irish Community Air Ambulance, Micheál Sheridan said: “Our team of pilots and National Ambulance Service paramedics will be on standby throughout the holidays. Whilst many of us will be enjoying Christmas Day with family and friends our crew will be away from theirs and will be available to respond if they are required.

“Our crew and those working in emergency services work tirelessly throughout the year and Christmas is no exception. The cost to run the charity this year is €2.1 million; the HEMS Air Ambulance alone is expected to cost €1.55m this year. By buying a star on our website you are helping us to light up the sky and bring hope to people in emergency situations in our communities this Christmas.” 

Chief Pilot Donnagh Verling, who will be on duty on Christmas Day, said that the team is “happy to give up our Christmas Day if it means that we can bring someone to the hospital that best suits their life-saving needs faster”.

To buy a star or to make a donation visit communityairambulance.ie

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