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Published on November 23rd, 2021 | by Alan Dwyer

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ICAA on a Mission to ‘Light Up The Sky’ this Christmas

The Irish Community Air Ambulance (ICAA) has launched its Christmas fundraising campaign with a mission to ‘Light Up The Sky’. The ICAA is asking supporters and businesses to help it Light Up The Sky and sponsor a star to fund lifesaving missions. Each donation made through the website will light a virtual star, supporters can also leave a message for the crew or light a star in honour of a loved one. The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) is Ireland’s only charity-funded Air Ambulance. It responds to serious incidents and medical emergencies every day of the year, including Christmas Day, from its base in Rathcoole, Co. Cork. The helicopter responded to 42 taskings during December 2020, including one on Christmas Day. Crews launched 12 times between Christmas Eve and New Years Eve to counties Cork, Clare, Kerry, Limerick and Waterford costing an estimated €42,000.

Commenting at the launch of the new fundraising campaign, CEO of the Irish Community Air Ambulance, Micheál Sheridan said, “Our team of pilots and National Ambulance Service paramedics will be on standby throughout the holidays. Whilst many of us will be enjoying Christmas Day with family and friends our crew will be away from theirs and will be available to respond if they are required. Our crew and those working in emergency services work tirelessly throughout the year and Christmas is no exception. The cost to run the charity this year is €2.1 million; the HEMS Air Ambulance alone is expected to cost €1.55m this year. By buying a star on our website you are helping us to light up the sky and bring hope to people in emergency situations in our communities this Christmas.” 

Also commenting was Chief Pilot Donnagh Verling who will be on duty on Christmas Day. He added, “Medical emergencies and other traumas don’t stop because it’s Christmas and neither do we. We’re called to the most serious of incidents including cardiac arrests, road crashes and farming accidents. We’re happy to give up our Christmas Day if it means that we can bring someone to the hospital that best suits their life saving needs faster. We can put a 25,000km2 area within 30 minutes of emergency medical care and will be on standby throughout Christmas to support our colleagues in the National Ambulance Service, the Fire Service and An Garda Siochana.”

To buy a star or to make a donation visit https://communityairambulance.ie. Each donation will light a star on the website, you can leave a message for the crew or light your star in memory of a loved one. You’ll receive a card in the post personally signed by the Air Ambulance crew thanking you for your donation. At the same time, the Irish Community Air Ambulance will use the star you’ve bought to help its lifesaving work.

Pictured above are seven-year-old Adalyn Kenny and six-year-old Harvey O’Mahony  from Dromahane, Mallow, Co Cork helping to launch the appeal along with Donnagh Verling, Chief Pilot with the Air Ambulance Pic: Brian Lougheed.

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