Toowoomba gives back to rescue service in record night of fundraising

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue’s impact across the South West has been celebrated, as supporters turned out to raise vital funds, at the 2022 Toowoomba Gala ball. 

The ball raised more than $470,000 – a record for a LifeFlight gala. 

Almost 500 supporters filled the stage of the Empire Theatre, which had been transformed into an event space, for one of the organisation’s biggest fundraisers of the year.

“Toowoomba is one of those places that really gets behind LifeFlight, we’re so proud to see the same people here and they’re just still as passionate year after year,” said LifeFlight Foundation Board Chair Stewart Morland. 

“We’re really serious about the job that we do, which is rescuing anybody, anywhere, anytime for free.”

“It wouldn’t be done without the support of the community.”

The service provides airlifts and emergency medical care, at no cost to patients – and relies on community support to make up a portion of funding. 

A couple of RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crew members were also able to be part of the celebrations. 

“It’s a reminder that it’s a massive team effort to get that aircraft in the sky and get out to where we need to go, it takes a huge team to do it, both from in LifeFlight and outside as well, through sponsorship and support,” RACQ LifeFlight Rescue pilot Simon Newman said. 

“We really appreciate the support.”

In the crowd, was past patient Courtney Connor, who was winch rescued by RACQ LifeFlight Rescue in 2020.

“I am honestly so grateful, my family are beyond amazed. We live so close to the base and we thank them every time we see them fly over us,” Courtney said.

“I just can’t thank them enough, they’ve done so much for us.”

Other past patients shared their emotional stories throughout the night, further encouraging attendees to dig deep.

The community showed their generosity and appreciation of the service throughout the night, including in a live auction, a pledge and a silent auction. 

Crowds clamoured for a chance to score a unique piece of jewellery, during the Ryley Jewellery Creations balloon pop, which raised $25,000 in just fifteen minutes.

LifeFlight’s highly valued Save A Life Sponsors were also acknowledged for their generous support throughout the year. 

Attendees also had a chance to enjoy special performances from singer Katie Noonan, and to dance the night away to a live band.

Each year, RACQ LifeFlight Rescue has to make up nearly 30% of the operational costs of lifesaving missions and this is raised through sponsors, donors and events, like the Gala. The remaining 70% is covered by a service agreement with the Queensland Government, the sponsorship of RACQ and innovative profit-for-purpose social enterprises all contribute to pay for this vital service.