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Celebrate 10 years of RACQ LifeFlight Rescue in the South West

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue is celebrating 10 years of saving lives in the Toowoomba and South West region with a family fun day at the Clive Berghofer LifeFlight Centre this Saturday at 10am.

LifeFlight will throw open the doors to the Toowoomba base to the local community to celebrate LifeFlight’s 10th birthday in the South West region and to say thank you to the community for their support over the past decade.

Come and meet the Toowoomba RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crew and past patients; there will also be hangar tours, Toowoomba Farmer’s Market stalls, Paddock to Potager and for the kids, a petting zoo, jumping castle and face painting.

General Manager of Fundraising Leanne Angel said the family fun day was a chance to thank the local community for supporting the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter for the past 10 years.

“Saturday’s birthday celebration is for the South West community, to show our gratitude to the thousands of people in the region who have supported us over the last decade,” said Mrs Angel.

“LifeFlight simply wouldn’t be here without them.

“The RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter is very much a community service and continues to rely on the support of the generous South West community. We feel privileged to have their ongoing support. All money fundraised by the local community goes directly to the local helicopter rescue service.”

Mrs Angel said one of LifeFlight’s earliest supporters Clive Berghofer had recognised 10 years ago that a rescue helicopter was urgently needed for the region.

“With the help of Mr Berghofer, along with a group of local businesses we called the Darling Downs Dozen, we were able to establish the Clive Berghofer LifeFlight Centre,” said Mrs Angel.

"His generous ongoing patronage allows LifeFlight to continue to make a difference to the lives of so many people.”

Toowoomba local Karen Biltoft-Garvey knows first-hand how critical the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter is, having been airlifted one year ago.

Mrs Biltoft-Garvey needed to be urgently transported from Toowoomba Hospital to St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital in Brisbane after CT scans detected a brain tumour the size of a small orange.

“I was found unconscious on the couch by my husband, and then rushed to the local hospital. Tests showed the tumour was pushing on my frontal lobe so hard it was trying to push my brain towards my spinal column,” she said.

“The neurosurgeons in Brisbane said I was an hour from death. They didn’t know if I would survive.

“I am so lucky I was airlifted. I am only alive because the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter got me to Brisbane in time.”

To say thank you to the LifeFlight crew, Mrs Biltoft-Garvey will perform with her rock cover band Gurt Lush at the birthday celebrations on Saturday.

“I’m very happy to be included in the birthday celebrations for the Toowoomba RACQ LifeFlight Rescue base," she said.

"I am so grateful to all the crew and doctors who helped saved my life."

Also joining the celebrations are The Good Guys Toowoomba, with the donation of the major raffle prize of a Weber Family Q barbecue.

The Good Guys Toowoomba store Executive Manager Justin Lanson said his company had supported the RACQ Lifeflight Rescue helicopter in Toowoomba for a decade and were thrilled to help celebrate LifeFlight’s 10-year anniversary in the local community.

“LifeFlight goes to great lengths to support families in the area during their most difficult times and we hope that our support continues to assist them with this goal,” said Mr Lanson.

“We have donated more than $20,000 to LifeFlight Toowoomba since our Local Giving Program began in 2006. The Good Guys Local Giving Program sees a percentage of each transaction, both in-store and online, donated to each store’s local community charity partners.”

In 2015-16, LifeFlight flew a record 1,864 missions from all of its Queensland community helicopter rescue bases, a 32% increase on 2014-15. The Toowoomba RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter was one of the busiest in the state with a record year of 551 lifesaving missions.