When three-year-old Zach McGrath discovered he was too short to reach the DVD player, he did what most children do and found a way. Unfortunately, when he climbed the dresser to reach the controls, the TV collapsed on him.
“The kids were screaming and I could tell by their faces it was really bad,” said Rhonda Samoleski, Zach’s mother, who called 911 when she found her son buried under a TV and dresser. The chain of survival, which STARS counts on, sprang into action. The local fire department was first on scene, followed by paramedics — who knew Zach needed immediate critical care and called STARS.
Roughly eight times a day across our six bases STARS carries out similar, lifesaving missions. Sometimes it’s a heart attack in a rural community, occasionally it’s a bad fall in a remote area, and all too often it’s a motor vehicle collision on the busy roads and highways you, and your friends and families travel. In every case, as Rhonda and her family learned, time is of the essence.
Since establishing operations in Saskatchewan in 2012, STARS has flown more than 3,000 missions to more than 400 communities across the province. And with the help of our dedicated supporters, STARS will continue to bring hope to critically ill and injured patients. Approximately 50 per cent of the funding for our two Saskatchewan bases comes from local supporters. Each and every person who buys a STARS lottery ticket is helping contribute to the safety of the community.
“Everyone worked together to help save Zach, but if STARS wasn’t there for us it could have been very different,” said Rhonda. “It’s still hard to believe we have a happy ending.”
Thank you, from STARS, for being there.
Playing on a swing set: it’s a favourite pastime for many six year olds. Breanna Booy was doing just that on Sept. 21, 2013, when the set collapsed, sending the wood frame crashing down on her head.
Her younger sister Shelby somehow managed to lift the post off and run to their father, Darcy, for help. “She was unconscious, crying out in pain,” said mother, Angela Booy. An ambulance arrived quickly at the property, 67 kilometres north of North Battleford. Paramedics knew Breanna needed urgent care and requested that STARS respond to save precious moments.
“When I heard STARS was coming I was torn between the fear of how serious Breanna’s injuries were and the hope that STARS could get her the help she needed faster,” said Angela. Breanna spent ten days in the pediatric intensive care unit at Royal University Hospital, before emerging from a coma.
Today, she is playing hockey, running and using playground equipment. “STARS, along with the help of their partners, gave us our healthy little girl back,” said Angela. “STARS is our family’s angel in the sky.”
Moments after Bonnie Fortin met her fourth son, Emery, her health went downhill rapidly. Bonnie awoke two days later in ICU at the Regina General Hospital to learn she had nearly bled to death following complications from her scheduled C-section.
“I was in critical condition and running out of time. Without STARS, I would not be here. My husband would be raising our four boys alone, and that would have left a big hole in my family.”
An appointment with a cardiologist turned out to be the most heartbreaking day of Roseann Gouchee’s life.
While en route, she and husband Gerry were merging onto a highway when their vehicle was broadsided. Gerry was thrown from the vehicle and Roseann was trapped. While first responders worked to free her, time ticked down. STARS landed on the highway and whisked her to hospital.
Tragically, Gerry passed away at the scene, while Roseann spent four months in hospital recovering. “I feel strongly I would not be alive if not for STARS picking me up. I believe STARS was there for me because my children would not have been able to handle losing both parents at once. I’m so grateful.”.
“Providing critical care within the first hour of an emergency, often referred to as the ‘golden hour’, helps reduce the chances of death or permanent damage,” says transport physician Vern Behl, who helped oversee Jason Simpson’s case. “Achieving this becomes problematic when patients are located far from tertiary care facilities.”
“I believe STARS’ ability to provide Jason with advanced airway intervention and rapid transport to the ER maximized his quality of life after his recovery.”
THE SOONER YOU BUY YOUR TICKET – THE FASTER WE WILL SELL OUT – THE FASTER WE SELL OUT – THE GREATER THE NET RETURN TO HELP SOMEONE IN NEED
To see more stories of our Very Important Patients, learn about what STARS is up to, or to find out how to get involved with our organization, visit our website or follow us on social media.