11 members of the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service are set to complete an epic challenge of endurance this October to raise vital funds for the Air Ambulance Northern Ireland charity. The team made up of four Paramedics, six Doctors and one Engineer will be cycling 110 miles over two days, starting from the Helipad at South Western Area Hospital and finishing at the Helipad at Royal Victoria Hospital.
Covid-19 has had a massive impact on the charity’s fundraising and income with hundreds of events being cancelled or postponed to safeguard public safety. In an effort to combat this downturn in income, the medical crew have committed to completing this phenomenal cycling challenge and hope to raise £10,000 or even fund two days of running costs – £11,500.
The event will commence from Enniskillen on Friday 2nd October and finish in Belfast on Saturday 3rd October. In the lead up to the big day, the highly skilled medical crew have promised to keep the public informed of their progress by recording training vlogs as they prepare for the highly demanding physical challenge.
The Helipad to Helipad Cycle Challenge will be a far cry from the crew’s typical day to day duties. While on shift at the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) the team are usually tasked on average at least once or twice a day to major trauma incidents all across Northern Ireland in city and rural localities alike. The highly skilled Doctors and Paramedics are trained to preform critical life-saving procedures at the scene of an accident to save lives, brains and limbs. Since the inception of the service in July 2017, the crew have been tasked over 1,400 times.
Dr Rory Maguire, HEMS Consultant and Anaesthetist at Belfast City Hospital, said, “Our team are very aware of the impact of Covid-19 at the frontline, in our community and the impact on Air Ambulance NI income. I have some experience in cycling, but this will be a completely different challenge as 12 of our team come together in a 110-mile physical challenge instead of our usual HEMS roles. Please get behind our team and support with a donation on our justgiving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/helipadcycle and thank you so much for your support.”
Kerry Anderson, Head of Fundraising at Air Ambulance NI said, “We are extremely grateful to the HEMS team for what they do for patients every day and now in taking on this challenge to help raise vital funds for the charity. Many of the team are taking on cycling for the first time so we know this won’t be easy and we wish them every success over the coming weeks and months.”
Air Ambulance NI is a local charity that provides the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for Northern Ireland, together with its partners at the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service. The service brings urgent medical assistance to anywhere in the province, operating seven days a week for 12 hours per day. It can get to anywhere in Northern Ireland in approximately twenty-five minutes. This Helicopter Emergency Medical Service benefits those whose lives are at serious risk following significant injury or trauma.
Air Ambulance NI needs to raise £2million each year to maintain this service and fundraising has been impacted severely by COVID-19.
If you would like to support AANI and the Helipad to Helipad Cycle Challenge 2020 you can donate and follow their progress through their Just Giving page at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/helipadcycle