Sunshine Coast LifeFlight gala a Silky Success 

An aerial silks performer who was airlifted by RACQ LifeFlight Rescue who broke her neck after she fell six metres during training in 2020, wowed the audience last night, with a surprise silks performance at the LifeFlight Sunshine Coast gala.

Around 500 glammed-up guests donned their finest sequins, bow ties, satin and sheer to celebrate LifeFlight Australia’s 45-year legacy last night (Sat 20th April) at the Novotel Sunshine Coast Convention Centre raising a record $270,000.

For Gympie school teacher Hannah McLaren, the event was therapeutic as she dazzled the audience with a stunning silks routine.

It has been a long road to recovery after she sustained serious injuries in 2020 when the silks free-standing rig she was practising on malfunctioned, and she fell.

The pilot landed the Sunshine Coast-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter on an incredibly narrow dam wall so that the aeromedical team could access and treat Hannah. 

“LifeFlight saved my life,” Hannah said.

“Where the accident actually happened was a difficult place to travel back by road, it’s a very windy road, so LifeFlight came and airlifted me out of there and that’s what saved my neck from spinal cord being severed.”.

“They are the reason I’m walking. They are the reason I have the abilities that I have today.”

The former professional photographer retrained to be a high school drama teacher after the accident.

She said the gala silks performance told her story from the accident to her recovery and then her new life.

“The performance that I did is a visual of my story,” Hannah said.

“It’s my struggles. It’s my journey through the accident, through recovery where I am today.

“It’s really important to me that I supported the LifeFlight gala because they are the reason I’m here today. And just being able to perform is giving back, it’s what I wanted to do.”

Learn more about Hannah’s story.

The enchanting evening of regal elegance, presented by Aaction Traffic, is the Sunshine Coast’s must-attend black-tie event of the year.

The fun night of dining, dancing and auctions, made possible by the generosity of Sunshine Coast businesses and community, celebrated the service’s important milestone. 

Guests dug deep for lavish auction prizes including an exclusive dinner-for-10 prepared by celebrity chef Matt Golinski, a Sofitel Noosa staycation, a Ferrari 488 GTB day-long joyride with gourmet lunch, a mini holiday at a Brisbane Aria penthouse and a LifeFlight crew helmet and experience in the LifeFlight Training Academy.

One lucky guest won a Millroy Jewellers diamond ring valued at $19,500.

LifeFlight Sunshine Coast and South Burnett Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) Chair Brendon Murray, said funds raised would help equip LifeFlight’s new regional aeromedical hub at the Sunshine Coast Airport with the latest medical and search and rescue equipment, so LifeFlight could continue to deliver greater levels of patient care. As a gateway for this region, the hub will help cope with increasing demands on the service.

“This fun and exciting night celebrates our incredible dedicated aeromedical heroes who helped more than 500 locals last year,” he said.

“To put that into perspective, look around at the 500 guests here tonight. Our LifeFlight Sunshine Coast crews have assisted this many people in the last year. We rescue anyone, anytime, anywhere at no cost to the patient.”

“This spectacular event just keeps improving year on year and we couldn’t achieve this success without the generous support from our incredible community. This year was bigger and better than we’ve ever done before.”

“I’d like to thank everyone who made tonight possible. And a special thanks to LifeFlight regional Vice Patron Jocelyn Walker for her huge support for our new Sunshine Coast regional hub.”

LifeFlight would like to thank the event sponsors who helped make the night a grand success: Aaction Traffic, Travis Schultz & Partners, Sinclair Property Group, Grenfell Murray, Hutchinsons Builders, Terri-Anne Murry at Amber Werchon, MixFM and Bishopp.

The valued supporters: Olive Studios, White House International, Sunshine & Sons, The Lane Vineyard, Novotel Sunshine Coast Resort, Millroy Jewellers, Your Mates, AV Partners, and EPM Printing.