On 3rd May 2019, Lisnaskea mum Tracey Ashton was watching her 14-year-old son, Drew, get off the school bus when tragedy struck – Drew was hit by a car when he was crossing the road to meet her. The collision sent Drew 25 feet in the air and he landed on his backpack.
Drew suffered a fractured skull, a fractured hand and a swollen knee. The air ambulance was called to the scene to provide pre-hospital critical care and fly Drew to Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
Drew is now fully recovered and Tracey is asking others to join her in supporting the charity, Air Ambulance Northern Ireland (AANI), as part of the organisation’s upcoming 3 Peaks Challenge this September for Air Ambulance Month, to give back to the organisation that saved her son.
The event, sponsored by Boost, will see supporters take on one, two or three of Northern Ireland’s most famous mountains in aid of the charity. The event kicks off with Slieve Donard on Saturday 14th September, Cuilcagh on Saturday 21st September and Slemish on Saturday 28th September.
Tracey and her family are official ambassadors of the event and have already raised £1,500 through an online donation page and collections in their local area.
She said: “I just think it’s fantastic what the air ambulance team did for Drew. For me it could have been a very different situation if we didn’t have the doctor at the scene who came with the air ambulance. Drew was showing signs that were a bit worrying, so the air ambulance team put Drew in an induced coma. Drew was then flown to Belfast and the air ambulance got him there quickly. I was so grateful that the air ambulance was there because we’re in such a rural area so it would have taken an hour and a half to drive Drew there.
“I’m raising money for Air Ambulance NI because it’s an essential service for people like me who live far from a local hospital. The service brought a doctor right to the scene of Drew’s accident and got him to the appropriate hospital as soon as possible for more treatment.”
Drew was treated by Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) clinical lead Dr. Darren Monaghan, paramedic Emma Boylan and pilot Dave O’Toole.
Dr. Monaghan said: “I’m so glad Drew is doing well after his traumatic accident and we would like to thank Tracey and her family for their amazing fundraising efforts so far. Being able to get the HEMS team to Drew within 25 minutes to deliver a pre-hospital anesthetic, to support Drew’s injuries epitomises why the air ambulance is needed.
We are calling on people across Northern Ireland to take on our 3 Peaks Challenge this September and raise money for this vital service. You don’t have to do all three peaks – choose one, two or all three! Supporters like Tracey are essential to funding AANI as it takes £2million required each year to keep the air ambulance running. I encourage everyone to sign up for the 3 Peaks Challenge and raise the funds we need to help us help people like Drew.
The charity, AANI, in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS), provides the HEMS for the region and responds to seriously ill or injured patients 12 hours a day, 7 days per week.
To sign up for one, two or three of the peaks for the 3 Peaks Challenge call 028 9262 2677. Participants will receive a T-shirt, medal and goodie bag.