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 has counted on for 30 years, 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, occasionally it’s a bad fall 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.
In 1985, STARS was born out of the vision of saving just one life. Soon, one life turned into two, and now 30 years later, we've flown more than 30,000 missions. Our story doesn’t end here, though. STARS is busier than ever and in these challenging economic times we are relying on your support to continue providing the highest level of care available.
“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.
When Kelly Waldron celebrated a milestone birthday recently, she reflected fondly on the past 30 years and set her sights on the future. STARS is doing the same.
STARS and Kelly were born on the same day in December, 1985. For Kelly, who arrived by C-section on Dec. 1, it was a precarious start. She and her twin brother Travis were born more than two months prematurely to mother Diana Hulstein in Lethbridge. While Travis was flown by a fixed-wing airplane from Medicine Hat, Kelly was picked up by the newly established STARS. Both infants were flown to Foothills Hospital, their futures hanging in the balance.
“My mother was told her children would likely not survive and to say her goodbyes,” said Kelly.
Instead, the babies thrived – as did STARS.
“My family has been grateful to STARS for 30 years,” said Kelly, who is recently married and a partner at a Lethbridge accounting firm. “We all know I couldn’t have celebrated my 30th birthday if STARS didn’t pick me up that day.”
Three decades after our first life-saving mission, our non-profit continues to be there for families and communities across Western Canada. From six bases we’ve carried out more than 30,000 missions. All of us at STARS know we couldn’t do this work without community support. From children who donate birthday money, to local charity events, to major corporate donors and lottery supporters, we are all in this together.
Kelly, and Very Important Patients like her, are grateful for people like you who believe in us and help ensure STARS can be there for the next patient.
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.”.
Firefighter Ryan Miller and his best friend, Tyson Parker, were injured in a motor vehicle collision in 2008. Tyson was in critical condition and was flown by STARS to hospital.
“STARS is the reason my best friend is still alive today,” said Ryan. “If not for generous donations and fundraising keeping STARS in the air, it could have been a different story.”
While the patient has always been the focus of our organization, we rely on the generosity of our donors to help fund the mission. We are so grateful to our supporters, including people like Ted Brooks, who help to raise funds for STARS. We simply could not carry on our life-saving work without the community.
“I had an employee who was flown by STARS after she was badly burned in a house fire,” said Ted. “She, like many others, wouldn’t be here without STARS. That’s why I donate today.”
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.