Mini Marathon call-out: We need your support now more than ever

The Irish Community Air Ambulance is encouraging people to take part in The Echo Virtual Women's Mini Marathon
Mini Marathon call-out: We need your support now more than ever

Representing the Irish Community Air Ambulance were Karen O'Sullivan, Key Relationships Manager; Lorraine Toner, Key Relationships Manager; Paul Traynor, Advanced Paramedic; Mícheál Sheridan, CEO; James Ward, Advanced Paramedic; and Donnagh Verling, Chief Pilot. Picture: Brian Lougheed

THE Irish Community Air Ambulance is encouraging people in Munster to take part in The Echo Virtual Women’s Mini Marathon and turn kilometres into missions as it helps more people than ever before.

The organisation is Ireland’s first and only charity-funded Air Ambulance. The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) was launched in July, 2019. It works in partnership with the National Ambulance Service and is tasked to respond to serious incidents and medical emergencies from its base in Rathcool in North Cork.

Demand for the Irish Community Air Ambulance is continuing to increase. It is on track to complete more than 500 missions this year and is predicting a 10% increase since 2020.

July, 2021, was the busiest month to-date for the service. Crews were tasked to 57 incidents during July, 19 of which were in Cork.

The helicopter also responded to emergencies in Kerry, Tipperary, Clare, Wexford, Limerick, Waterford and Mayo. Each mission costs an average of €3,500.

Micheál Sheridan, CEO of the Irish Community Air Ambulance, said: “We are flying more than we’ve ever flown, we are helping more people than we’ve ever helped.

“However, we need the support of the public now, more than ever.

“It is their donations and their fundraising efforts that keep us in the air and help us bring hope to those facing a medical emergency.

“This summer has been exceptionally busy for our crews. The 57 missions during July alone equate to an estimated cost of just under €200,000, which is a significant amount of money to have to raise.”

The Air Ambulance is staffed by a team of Advanced Paramedics and EMTs from the National Ambulance Service together with HEMS pilots. It brings patients to the hospital that best suits their life-saving needs.

A new Leonardo 109S helicopter, the fastest civilian helicopter in the world, is in full service since June, 2021. It is ideally suited to the provision of a rural Helicopter Emergency Medical Service and for getting to the scene quickly. It can travel at a speed of 300kmph, is in the air in under four minutes, and can reach any location within a 25,000sq km area in under 30 minutes.

The organisation also has a small fleet of Rapid Response Vehicles on the ground in Mayo, Donegal and Dublin. These vehicles are staffed by volunteer critical care doctors and community based GPs. They are also tasked by the National Ambulance Service to traumas and medical emergencies within a 40-50km range.

Lorraine Toner, Key Relationships Manager with the Irish Community Air Ambulance, is taking part in The Echo Virtual Women’s Mini Marathon for the first time.

She said: “I really hope the people of Munster will join us and turn 6k into missions. Every mission costs €3,500 but even the smallest donation will help.

“What is wonderful about this virtual event is that you can do it your way and at a time that suits you. It also means that people from outside of Cork don’t have to travel and can run, walk or jog the distance wherever they are.

“Our team at the Irish Community Air Ambulance is in training for the event on the 19th and I know there will be a little bit of healthy competition to see who posts the best time on the day.”

For more information about the service, or to make a donation directly to the Irish Community Air Ambulance visit

How you can get involved this year...

The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon virtual race day goes ahead this year on September 19. But don’t worry, if you can’t do your virtual 6k on that date, you can do it between Friday, September 16 and 26.

Registration this year is as follows;

a) Early Bird, 10 euro = includes a race number and medal b) After Early Bird Closes = 15 euro There will be the option for people to set up an iDonate fundraising page for registered charities.

You can register for the event at the new site: 

Also keep an eye on social media @theechominimarathon

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