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LifeFlight nurse honoured in ‘Australian of the Day' awards

Almost 10 years after being airlifted by the RACQ LifeFlight helicopter, Gold Coast patient turned nurse Joshua Ball has been named ‘Australian of the Day’ for his work with LifeFlight.

“I was very surprised that I was nominated for Australian of the Day. It is an honour because there are so many people out there that make this country great,” Mr Ball said.

The award recognises outstanding Australians who are making a significant contribution to our country, with the Commonwealth Bank and News Corp sponsoring the program.

It profiles two Australians each week who are making a difference in their community as part of the Australian of the Year Awards.

Joshua Ball was nominated for his work as a nurse with LifeFlight, formerly known as CareFlight. He spends his days at LifeFlight’s Brisbane hangar flying in new state-of-the-art AW139 helicopters to accidents and incidents where patients require urgent medical attention and ensuring others get the best medical care when they are transferred to major Brisbane hospitals from the regions.

“I love coming to work. I am so grateful that we are able to help so many Australians,” he said.

“I pinch myself every day because I feel so lucky to have the opportunity in my job to help so many people in so many ways.”

In October 2006, Mr Ball fractured his back in a quad bike accident at Black Duck Valley Moto Park south of Gatton. It was the RACQ LifeFlight helicopter that airlifted him to hospital to receive the emergency care he needed.

“I came off my quad bike and broke my back, when the yellow squirrel arrived I was so grateful as my pain was gone and I was off to hospital.”

Mr Ball’s recovery was slow but he was determined to get back to work as an intensive care nurse at the Gold Coast University Hospital.

“It took me 12 months of physiotherapy and training to get back to 100 percent. It was a battle, but I wouldn't be where I am today without going through it,” he said.

His brief but memorable encounter with LifeFlight remained with him and in 2013 he applied for a position with the rescue helicopter service. Two years later he was employed as a nurse at LifeFlight’s Brisbane base.

 “Ever since that day after they rescued me I have wanted to give back to the community and what better way than doing this job,” he said.

Mr Ball said he was surprised, but honoured, to be nominated alongside other everyday Australians who were contributing to making our country a great place.

“It is fascinating to read about the other Australians of the Day and it reminds me of how extraordinary people are,” he said.

“They are truly inspirational. There are no limits to what we can achieve.”

After his first 12 months of working at LifeFlight, Mr Ball has flown around 150 missions to help sick or injured patients.  

“The best part about working for LifeFlight is knowing that I am part of a team and we all have the same goal – helping that one person in need,” he said.

“Being 100 percent happy with your job and what you do is the best reward. I have LifeFlight to thank for that.”

In the 2015-2016 financial year, RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopters completed 1864 missions, including 1270 urgent hospital transfers, 499 serious incidents and motor vehicle crashes, plus 67 search and rescue tasks.