This year Ronnie Orr resident of Moneymore and originally from Dungiven, celebrates 50 years since his first open heart surgery to replace a damaged aortic valve and to mark the anniversary he will walk 50 miles between 7-19 June raising sponsorship for the charity Air Ambulance Northern Ireland. 

Ronnie said, “I was just 23 when my first surgery was done in June 1971 to replace a valve.  I recently realised in my late mother’s diary entry of 9 June 1971 she had written ‘Ronnie through operation safely.  Thank the lord for his mercies.’  A second surgery was required in 1982 and then a third replacement in 1991.  The third surgery involved fitting of a mechanical valve which thankfully is still working very well. Furthermore, I have undergone three less invasive surgeries in 2002, 2010 and 2018 to fit and replace pacemakers.” 

Ronnie continued, “I know quite a few people who have needed the assistance of the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service team and my nephew Jason Rosborough was part of the medical team until recently.   I’d say there are few of us in the country who don’t know of someone who has needed the air ambulance, and any one of us could need it in the future. Having lived 35 years in Coleraine I appreciate the value this lifesaving service can bring to areas with extended travel times for specialist emergency care.  I would like to say thank you to those who have already supported me and encourage those who can to make a donation on my JustGiving page:” 

The charity Air Ambulance Northern Ireland, in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, provides the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for Northern Ireland.  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.  

Kerry Anderson, Head of Fundraising with the charity said, “The HEMS team attend patients who are seriously ill or injured, bringing emergency pre-hospital care direct to the casualty with the aim of saving lives, brains and limbs. As a charity Air Ambulance NI needs to raise £2m per annum to sustain and develop the service.  It’s fantastic the journey that Ronnie has made over the years and we are very pleased he has chosen to mark this milestone by raising funds.” 

Air Ambulance NI has recently launched a range of events and other ways to support the charity including two abseils, Dragon Boat Racing and much more, all available to register for online by clicking here or for more information call the charity team on 028 9262 2677. 

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