Mental Health Week- May 6-12

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STARS Air Ambulance flew 38 missions in the Morden-Winkler area alone in 2018. Seven of these were scene calls, 31 were inter-facility transfers.
Across the province during the calendar year, STARS flew 647 missions, which was down from 696 in 2017.

Chad Saxon Communications Lead with Manitoba STARS, says STARS tracks their missions through their fiscal year and they are on track to reach the 720 of last year.

"When STARS is called out, it's for the most critically injured or sick patients. It's important situations, so we're able to be there rapidly and provide emergency care from the moment we're on scene."

STARS' service is essential in moving critical patients quickly and efficiently, but that service does come with a hefty price tag. Saxon says to maintain pilot training, equipment, and emergency medical supplies $10 million is needed yearly to operate a single STARS base.

The provincial government provides 90 percent of funding, and 10 percent is raised through the STARS Foundation, so that no charge is given to the patient when they require transport from STARS.

"We understand our provincial government and governments of any nature have plenty of fiscal pressures on them, and we're always looking to make sure we're out raising money and doing everything we can to ensure that STARS has a long-term future here in Manitoba."

To accomplish that goal STARS holds their various fundraisers Critical Care On The Air, STARS Rescue On The Island, along with generous donations. This year a family in Portage La Prairie area that planted 40 acres of soybeans with all profits to go to STARS and a fundraiser in the Altona area, Support The Stache, which raise over $30,000.

Seeing the continual support STARS receives is reinvigorating at the Base says Saxon, he says it's incredible to see the work and generosity of Manitoba, which allows them to do their job and save lives.

STARS is an organization that genuinely cares about their patients, Saxon says having someone from their Very Important Patients program is always a delight.

"Meeting our VIP's is one of the greatest pleasures of our job. We often don't get to hear how they're doing following their STARS flight, so for them to come to the base and have an opportunity to tour and reconnect with their crew, that's something that's a highlight around the base."

Saxon adds many times their VIPs become their most prolific supporters, volunteering at events, speaking about the work STARS does, or being part in a VIP video.

Looking ahead to 2019 Saxon says they're looking forward to once again participate in Critical Care On The Air, hoping to beat last year's total of $100,000, and STARS Rescue on the Island, which since beginning the fundraiser in 2012 has raised $1.5 million.

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