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Pig racing pays tribute to family rescued by LifeFlight

The Sandy Creek Pig Races have become an institution in the south-west’s fundraising calendar, with the event set to raise vital funds for the LifeFlight Foundation this Saturday (17 March). 

Now in its eighth year, the Sandy Creek Pig Races brings locals and visitors alike to the Sandy Creek pub, with crowds of up to 2,000 people in attendance.

It’s been a family affair as local residents dig deep for the rescue helicopter service which has personally impacted many lives in the area.

The races were the brainchild of the original pub owner, Garry Little and his late wife, Lizzie who wanted to give back to RACQ LifeFlight Rescue after they heard the story of a young local resident who was airlifted by the service.

Jodi Crowley’s granddaughter was flown twice by LifeFlight after she fell critically ill with a respiratory condition which nearly took her life.

“My granddaughter was flown by LifeFlight twice for a severe medical condition which caused her lungs to collapse,” said Jodi.

“Garry – the owner of the pub – heard about her airlift and wanted to help by raising money for LifeFlight.”

The event has grown bigger and better, raising more than $80,000 for the LifeFlight Foundation since 2009.  

Jodi said everyone involved in her committee knew someone who has been rescued or personally airlifted by the service. 

“LifeFlight has touched us all in one way or another. That’s how this event started and that’s why it continues to grow,” she said.

But the event hasn’t been without tragedy. 

Garry Little and his mother were involved in a serious car accident two years ago and had to be airlifted by RACQ LifeFlight Rescue. Garry was airlifted to Toowoomba Hospital and his mother was flown to the Princess Alexandra Hospital where she later passed away. Only one year earlier, Garry’s late wife, Lizzie had also been airlifted by the rescue service after she suffered a serious brain aneurysm.

It was an accident which rocked the tight-knit community but they rallied together to show their support.

“The year after Garry’s accident was the biggest pig races we’ve run,” said Jodi.

“Everyone came together and we had a really big turnout for that event.”

Amy Luhrs, Community Engagement Officer for the South-West, said the money raised at this year’s Sandy Creek Pig Races will help save more lives.

“Our Toowoomba-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter performed 419 missions last year. Everyone knows someone who has been rescued by LifeFlight in the south-west,” said Amy.

“Community events help us keep our helicopters in the air and saving lives.

“We can’t thank Sandy Creek enough for the real difference they make to saving lives in our community.”