If you consider STARS Air Ambulance an invaluable service to your community, the organization hopes you’ll support them through their annual lottery. 3,145 prizes worth $4.9 million are up for grabs, along with a 50/50 worth up to $1.55 million.
STARS President and CEO Andrea Robertson believes one in two people in the province could say they know of someone who’s been helped by their red helicopters. They’re used to transport critically injured patients to hospital, often from hard to reach rural locations.
“When it happens it has huge ripple effects because we don’t come and pick you up for a broken fingernail; when we come it’s something pretty catastrophic. It affects your whole family, it generally affects your whole community and your workplace because something pretty substantive has occurred.”
One of the people the air ambulance in Grande Prairie has helped is Julie Goforth. She was horseback riding several years ago when an unfamiliar horse reared up and fell over, landing on top of her. She was riding in a remote location, and very far from a hospital.
“The only reason I’m alive is because STARS landed on the field where I was injured and carried me to hospital in time for the critical care I required,” she says. “Inside the helicopter, the paramedic and nurse that cared for me were skilled, knowledgeable and compassionate. I knew right away that I was in the best hands possible.”
The STARS Lottery has been running for 24 years now, and has sold out the past 23. Each chopper in the province now has a “Times are Tough, Albertans are Tougher decal” on it as a thank you.
“Today, if you buy a lottery ticket and tomorrow you see STARS in the sky, there’s a direct connection between your purchase and us being in the air,” says Robertson. “Lottery and STARS every year actually supports an entire base for a full 12 months.”
The fundraiser is the biggest one of the year for the organization, helping bring in more than $11-million annually. Since the loyalty launch in December, they’ve already sold 40 per cent of their tickets. More information on this year’s prizes and how to buy tickets is on starslotteryalberta.ca.