Air Ambulance Northern Ireland (AANI) is delighted to welcome Cookstown based Katrina Hughes as their new Area Fundraising Manager for the North-West region.

Katrina will be responsible for overseeing fundraising activities in areas ranging from Ballycastle to Cookstown and L/Derry. With her experience in fundraising from a young age and dedication to AANI, Katrina hopes to leverage her passion for supporting the charity and raise essential funds to help keep the service running. “I am honored to join the AANI team,” said Katrina, “and look forward to working closely with the local community and businesses to further support this vital service. The Air Ambulance is there for everyone across Northern Ireland, it belongs to everyone and is a service that anyone, anywhere could need at any time.” she added.

HEMS is a helicopter emergency medical service that is operated in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and has responded to thousands of emergency calls, delivering much-needed, and often-times, life-saving medical aid to critically ill and injured patients. HEMS was first tasked on the 22nd of July 2017 and has since been called out countless times. The team has averaged two missions every day, proving to be a life-saving service that is much needed in Northern Ireland.

Doctor Darren Monaghan HEMS Clinical Lead believes that the strong partnership between NIAS and AANI has been crucial to the success of HEMS. “The aim of the service is to ensure patients, who are critically injured or ill, receive optimal care before they reach hospital”, he said. The HEMS team provides Pre-Hospital Critical Care across Northern Ireland, and their interventions include advanced pain relief, sedation to allow manipulation of fractured limbs, blood transfusion, and pre-hospital anaesthetics.

Kerry Anderson, Head of Fundraising for Air Ambulance NI, expressed her gratitude to the people who have helped AANI over the past six and a half years. “Each time the helicopter lifts off we are aware that someone is in great need and that, thanks to the generosity of people locally, the HEMS team can offer the best chance of saving a life. We are truly grateful to everyone who has been able to support us and want to say a heartfelt thank you to each person who helps the HEMS continue to save lives, brains and limbs”.

Being a local charity, Air Ambulance Northern Ireland needs to raise £2.5 million each year to maintain and sustain the service, which largely depends on public donations. However, the daily fundraising target has increased to nearly £7,000 during the current cost of living crisis.

You can support this vital service by getting involved; sign up to one of the annual fundraising events including a bucket list skydive in Garvagh on Friday 10th May or abseil down Roe Valley Country Park on Saturday 22nd June. Come along and support local community fundraisers including Farm Flix’ annual ‘On The Pull’ event in Ballymena Saturday 6th July, or Supercar Sunday in Portstewart on 27th July. You could even choose to organise your very own fundraising event, with the support of the fundraising team at Air Ambulance.

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