Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) have received a donation of £3650 from church members and the family of a former patient who have gone on to raise funds for the cause.
Max Deans, 9, required the services of Great Western Air Ambulance Charity, providers of an air ambulance service for the 2.1m people of Bristol, Bath and the surrounding counties, in February 2013.
Whilst visiting family in Swindon, Max was hit by a bus in Westfield Way, near the Orbital Shopping Centre. He sustained severe head injuries, and the crew from GWAAC, alongside Wiltshire Air Ambulance and road ambulance crews, provided critical care to Max and he was sedated and flown to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, arriving just 12 minutes later.
Despite Max’s family being warned that he may need to spend months in hospital, he was able to be discharged just three weeks later. Of the £3650 that has been raised, the largest donation came from the local Plymouth Brethren Christian Church (PBCC), based in Bristol, who supported Max and his family during his time in hospital.
Dr Leon Roberts MBE, GWAAC Critical Care Doctor said: “Unfortunately accidents like this do occur in the South West and when they do the Great Western Air Ambulance crew based at Filton aim to provide a critical care service to those involved at the point of injury.”
“Max required critical care interventions in Swindon that day – the team came together to ensure this happened. There is nothing more rewarding than to be able to show him around our unit today.”
Speaking of the donation, Heidi Deans, Max’s mother said: “Whilst we were aware of air ambulance charities and the incredible work they do, we never expected we would have to experience their services first hand – no-one does.”
“Without GWAAC and the other emergency services that attended that day, we would have had a very different story to tell. Max’s life was dependent on their skill, for which we can’t thank them for enough.”
Neil Hooper, GWAAC Critical Care Paramedic who attended Max said: “It is always rewarding when former patients get back in touch with us and visit the base, and it is great to see Max looking so well.”
“On behalf of everyone at GWAAC I’d like to say thank you to Max and his family for their donation, as the amount of money that has been raised will really help to keep our helicopter flying.”
GWAAC is currently trying to raise £250,000 of additional funds for a new Eurocopter EC 135 helicopter in order to replace the ageing Bölkow 105 model that it currently uses, as part of a campaign called ‘Movin’ on Up’. A new helicopter would attend to patients four minutes faster, would allow a mother and child to fly to hospital together and would allow more space for the patient, equipment and mid-air treatment.
For more information about the campaign, and to donate, visit www.greatwesternairambulance.com