The Gala has become an iconic Sunshine Coast charity event, with more than 430 guests flocking to Novotel Twin Waters to enjoy a glamorous evening while helping to raise money for the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter service.
Darren Percival – runner-up of the hit TV show, The Voice – and local Channel Nine news presenter, Samantha Heathwood were the Master of Ceremonies (MCs) for the night and entertained guests with their own show-stopping performance, accompanied by The Koi Boys.
But the real stars of the evening were four past-patients of the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue service who bravely shared their rescue stories with the crowd, reminding guests of the genuine and lifesaving outcomes of their support.
Beyond the fine-dining and outstanding entertainment, guests were given the unique opportunity to hear about life ‘inside the chopper’ when air crewman, Dan King and LifeFlight Critical Care doctor, Dr Danielle Spratt took to the stage to share the realities of their job.
It presented guests with an eye-opening experience and even showed the vital pieces of equipment used by the Sunshine Coast RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crew to save lives.
The spell-bound crowd heard first-hand from those who had been on the receiving end of this service when Kate Bailey and her two children, Aneeka and Cooper took to the stage.
Kate Bailey has lived every mother’s worst nightmare twice when her two children, Aneeka and Cooper had to be airlifted by the Sunshine Coast-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter in separate incidents just two years apart.
The Bailey family shared their story with guests to encourage locals to dig deep with their fundraising efforts.
“I hear the choppers all the time, they’re a familiar and regular sound of our day-to-day routine,” said Kate.
“Every time we hear them it’s a mixed blessing. We’re so thankful but our hearts can’t help but go out to the other family the crew is racing to save.”
Hutchinson Builders continued their long-standing support of LifeFlight in the Sunshine Coast region, joining the event as a Major Sponsor.
“Hutchinson Builders is proud to continue our long-standing support of the LifeFlight Foundation and in particular, their services on the Sunshine Coast,” said Michael Michell, Area Manager, Hutchinson Builders, Sunshine Coast.
“Our teams work in remote locations from Kingaroy out west to Bundaberg up north. It is important and comforting to know that this critical service is available to them and other businesses like ours, should the need ever arise.
“The life-saving medical care provided by LifeFlight is vital to remote and rural communities around Australia and Hutchies is honoured to be playing a small part in ensuring these services can continue.”
Local business Bentleys Sunshine Coast recognise the vital need for the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue service in their backyard and joined the event as ‘Celebrate a Life’ sponsors.
“LifeFlight plays a critical role on the Sunshine Coast, bringing world-class aeromedical care to those in their greatest hour of need,” said Bentleys Partner, Brendon Murray.
“We’re proud to be giving back to this lifesaving service by covering the average cost of one mission and helping to save a life.”
With a staggering $100,004 raised at the LifeFlight Foundation Benefit Gala presented by Hutchinson Builders, more lives will continue to be saved on the Sunshine Coast.
Leanne Angel, CEO of the LifeFlight Foundation thanked locals for their support.
“Our RACQ LifeFlight Rescue service is there to help Queenslanders in their greatest hour of need, but it’s a service only made possible by the generous support of local communities,” said Ms Angel.
“Thank you for digging deep tonight and helping the LifeFlight Foundation raise vital funds to keep our choppers in the air and saving lives.
“All money raised at this year’s LifeFlight Foundation Benefit Gala presented by Hutchinson Builders will go back into the Sunshine Coast arm of our rescue service so that we can continue to provide a blanket of care across Queensland.”
This event would not be possible without the support of Hutchinson Builders, Bentleys Sunshine Coast, Helimods, Pacific Motor Group, Ken Filbey Financial Services and McLean and Co Jewelers.