How much do you love your local air ambulance? Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s pilots and paramedics certainly do!
The aircrew at the charity will be taking part in a virtual bike ride to raise funds for portable blood and fluid warmers used during emergencies.
They aim to cycle a virtual 654 miles from 8 February to 14 February – ending on Valentine’s Day – geared at raising £5,182 to fund the purchase of a MEQU °M Warmer unit and accessories.
Wiltshire Air Ambulance began carrying packed red blood cells on board in 2015 and last year pre-hospital blood transfusions were carried out by their critical care paramedics and doctors more than once per month on average.
The MEQU °M Warmer ensures critically ill and injured patients Wiltshire Air Ambulance attend receive the blood products carried at the required temperature to enter the blood stream quicker.
Due to lockdown, the aircrew are aiming to virtually cycle from the charity’s airbase in Semington, near Trowbridge, to each of the hospitals they usually airlift patients to.
This includes Salisbury District Hospital, Southampton General Hospital, John Radcliffe Hospital, Great Western Hospital, Gloucester Royal Hospital, Bristol Royal Infirmary & Children’s Hospital, Southmead Hospital, Weston General Hospital and Royal United Hospital in Bath, before returning to the airbase. They will then do it all over again the other way!
That’s a total distance of 654 miles, meaning they’ll need to cycle on average 93.4 miles per day to complete the mammoth trek. It shows they certainly love their job!
The cycling will take place on exercise bikes donated by Places Leisure, who operate Olympiad Leisure Centre in Chippenham, with regular updates on their progress being posted across the charity’s social media pages.
Wiltshire Air Ambulance critical care paramedic and ground base manager Richard Miller said: “We’ve seen a downturn in our funding during the Coronavirus pandemic and have decided to show all our donors and the community how much we love this charity by raising money for an urgent vital piece of medical equipment needed during these difficult times.
“We are all looking forward to this virtual cycle ride and we’ll all be playing our part over the week to achieve the target.”
The aircrew has already received a good luck message from ambassador and British champion para-cyclist Lauren Booth, based in Chippenham.
You can sponsor the aircrew via a special Just Giving page click here or text BLOOD to 70480 to donate £10 towards the challenge target (texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message).
If you have an exercise bike at home you can even get involved in this virtual challenge yourself – either set up your own Just Giving fundraising page, or join the team’s fund on the link above.
Wiltshire Air Ambulance provides Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) across the county of Wiltshire and surrounding areas, including Bath. To operate for up to 19 hours a day, the charity needs to raise £3.75 million each year.