Gisele Dickson was raising funds for STARS by selling 2023 calendars in Fernie on November 9. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Gisele Dickson was raising funds for STARS by selling 2023 calendars in Fernie on November 9. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Volunteers raising funds for STARS in the Elk Valley

STARS is called to transport critically injured patients to medical care

Volunteers from STARS (Shock Trauma Ambulance Rescue Service) were in the Elk Valley last week to raise funds for the vital not-for-profit organisation.

Founded in 1985, STARS is known by locals for its work transporting critically injured patients to much-needed emergency care by helicopter.

While the organization is based in Alberta and serves the Prairies, the eastern reaches of British Columbia fall within its reach, with 62 call-outs for STARS in the 2021-2022 year to this part of the world, including seven in Fernie, and one each in Elko, Sparwood and Elkford.

Volunteer Gisele Dickson was selling calendars in Fernie on November 9, and said that fundraising was critical for their continued service.

“(STARS has carried out) over 45,000 missions, and no-one has been charged,” she said. “That’s why we do the fundraising.

“The average cost per flight is $5,400 and really no-one can afford that.”

STARS respond to requests from first responders who go to 911 calls. STARS are assigned to transport patients that ambulances can’t get to, or if ambulances would not be fast enough to get a patient to emergency care. STARS helicopters have two pilots, and nurse and a paramedic on board at all times, meaning patients are under medical care as soon as they’re on board.

Dickson said that the work STARS did was just a part of the larger operation that got those in need to much-needed care.

“It’s not just the helicopter,” she said, giving credit to first responders, doctors and nurses all involved in 911 calls.

If you miss your chance to get a copy of the calendar you can buy a copy from the STARS website at stars.ca, or you can contact Gisele Dickson at 587-220-2788, as volunteers come through the Elk Valley occasionally to do fundraising.

READ MORE: Elkford under air quality advisory due to elevated pollution levels



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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