The Rotorua-based BayTrust Rescue Helicopter is hoping to secure 1000 new friends when its annual appeal comes to town next week.
More than $600,000 has to be raised every year throughout the Rotorua regional community from sponsorship, clubs and group support and the Friends of the Rescue Helicopter membership programme for the region to have its own dedicated rescue helicopter.
Funds raised go directly towards making the rescue helicopter available at no cost to the patient and ensuring the future of the service. In the past three weeks alone the BayTrust Rescue Helicopter has been involved in 11 missions.
"Search and rescue, three maternity transfers, farmbike and horse crashes, plus a stroke, seizures and cardiac ... We undertake a range of missions each year and the last couple of weeks have shown just how needed we are," said base manager and pilot Barry Vincent.
"We know our service touches the lives of many families in our region."
Representatives of the BayTrust Rescue Helicopter will be calling people to secure donations and friend memberships, with a major benefit available.
As a friend, you get personal transport back to Rotorua Hospital if you have been hospitalised outside the area and require extended recovery time in hospital. There is also a regular newsletter, membership card, supporter sticker and tax receipt for donations over $5.
Rescue helicopters throughout New Zealand are charitable organisations, which received about 50 per cent of funding from government-related contracts. Remaining operating costs are fundraised annually from the communities they serve.
For further information, contact the friends office on freephone 0800 11 10 10 or visit www.rescue.org.nz