The Gala Ball has been one of the most anticipated events on the Toowoomba social calendar, with supporters across the Darling Downs coming together to raise much-needed funds for the LifeFlight Foundation.
Rugby sporting legend and Queensland ‘golden boy’, Wally Lewis was the Master of Ceremonies (MC) for the event and captured the true spirit of LifeFlight’s aeromedical service which brings emergency care to Queenslanders in need.
Wally said the choice to come on-board as MC for the event was a testament to LifeFlight’s great work in the south-west region and beyond.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of this incredible event that does so much life-changing work to keep Queenslander’s safe,” Wally said.
Hutchinson Builders continued their long-standing support of LifeFlight in Toowoomba, joining the event as a Major Partner.
Hutchinson Builders was part of the original ‘Darling Downs Dozen’ which each contributed funding 11 years ago to establish the LifeFlight (then Careflight) facility in Toowoomba.
Guests were treated to musical performances by acapella trio, The Koi Boys who shot to fame with their casual gig-cum-jam sessions on The Voice, and Toowoomba-based musician, Andrew Kucks who kept supporters jiving throughout the night.
The real stars of the night were four past-patients who were rescued by the Toowoomba-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter over the past two years – Jenny Ballon, Sandy Morris, Connor Sharpe and Cardell Turner. All four of them bravely shared their stories of rescue and recovery with the spell-bound crowd.
The night was a true celebration of life, with guests digging deep in the silent and live auctions to raise money for the iconic rescue helicopter service which gives every south-west resident equal access to emergency aeromedical care.
Good-natured rivalry was alive and well in the crowd as guests outbid each other to win the major prizes, such as a Travel Escape Raffle by National Australia Bank, Ryley Jewellery package, Moreton Island Holiday Package by LJ Hooker Toowoomba, Ladies’ Day Out, Scenic Rim Trail experience, Corporate Box with Shane Webcke donated by iOR Petroleum and a unique one hour session in the Thales LifeFlight Simulation Centre.
Local businesses and community members celebrated both ‘life’ and their long-time support of RACQ LifeFlight Rescue since its establishment in the south-west region more than a decade ago.
Since operations began in 2006, the Toowoomba-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter has performed more than 3,300 lifesaving airlifts in the area.
CEO of the LifeFlight Foundation, Leanne Angel said the money raised at this year’s Gala Ball will help RACQ LifeFlight Rescue save even more lives.
“Tonight we have seen the south-west community’s true generosity on display. We are always humbled by the support we receive in the region and tonight has been no exception,” she said.
“The RACQ LifeFlight Rescue service is integral in keeping Queensland families safe should tragedy or serious illness strike. The support we have seen tonight from residents, businesses and local members will help us continue to give more second chances.
“Our Toowoomba base is one of our busiest and every dollar raised at tonight’s event will go towards saving lives. Thank you to our Major Partners, Hutchinson Builders, Celebrate a Life Partner, G&K Lawson Constructions and Major Prize Partners for supporting our cause,” she said.
The event marked a new era for saving lives in Queensland, with construction of the new purpose-built aeromedical base, the Clive Berghofer LifeFlight Centre due for the turning of the first sod in the New Year.
Guests could pledge $1000 to receive a hand-crafted and hand-painted model helicopter and join the ‘Wall of Local Heroes’, which will be featured at the new facility. The pledge alone raised $60,000 for the LifeFlight Foundation.
As the Toowoomba and south-west region continues to grow, RACQ LifeFlight Rescue will be there to provide its lifesaving aeromedical service to those who need it most, a service only made possible by its dedicated community of supporters.
2016-17 was a record year for LifeFlight for lifesaving missions with its aeromedical crews, community helicopters and Air Ambulance jets performing a record 5,342 missions throughout Queensland and around the world.
LifeFlight is a community-based charity funded and supported by the LifeFlight Foundation
To support the LifeFlight Foundation visit:www.lifeflightfoundation.org.au