Island resident raises funds for 'angels of the sky'
LIFEFLIGHT rescue has carried out 81 missions to Fraser Island alone in the last financial year, to bring lifesaving medical treatment to seriously ill or injured patients.
Happy Valley resident Larry Ray has lived on the island for 11 years and after suffering a suspected mini stroke in 2015, knows first-hand why this service is so vital.
After being assessed by the Island's only paramedic at Happy Valley, the call went out to the service to attend to the 62-year-old and they arrived within 20 minutes to transfer him to the Bundaberg hospital.
Without the chopper, it would have taken up to two hours for the ambulance to transport him to the barge landing and a further 45-minute boat ride to the mainland.
Mr Ray said the "angels of the sky" saved his life.
"I have no doubt the level of professional care given to myself is given to all patients that find themselves in a situation where the call goes out for LifeFlight.
"You just never know when you will need them." Any of LifeFlight's 11 medically equipped rescue helicopters can be called out to 14 locations across Queensland, 24 hours a day, including the Fraser Coast.
But it doesn't come cheap.
Each mission the non-for-profit service is called to comes with a price tag of over $12,500 - a cost Mr Ray is now helping to cover after starting the annual Fraser Island Tailor Season Weigh-In fundraiser in 2014.
Based at the Fraser Island Retreat in Happy Valley where Mr Ray and his partner Debbie work, any amateur fisherman who has caught a fresh tailor, dart, whiting or bream, can weigh in their catch daily from July 29 to October 6 for $5.
Fraser Coast residents can also buy raffle tickets and be in the draw to win some top prizes including five days accommodation at Beach House 11 or five days at Wattlebird Cottage, both situated at second valley, Eurong.
Mr Ray has raised about $13,000 so far and is hoping some more local businesses will come on board with sponsorship or donations of raffle prizes to reach $20,000 this year.
"Whether it is inter-hospital transfers or those involved in the many road accidents that have occurred over the past few months ... this is a service that you just never know when they are called to assist you anywhere in Queensland," Mr Ray said.
"Originally called RACQ CareFlight, the name changed to LifeFlight in 2016 to reflect what they do; and that is saving lives. "Remember their motto 'The next life we save could be yours', which basically says it all."
To find out more, visit the Fraser Island annual Tailor Season Weigh-In Facebook page or email Mr Ray at events@fraserislandretreatq ld.com.au.
Get your tickets
There is two separate five-night holidays on Fraser Island that the public can win.
You can choose to purchase tickets in either one or both by donating via the organiser's everydayhero link at www.lifeflightrescueqld. everydayhero.com/au/ larry. Comment either H1 or H2 or both.
Tickets are $5 each. Once donations are received, Mr Ray is notified of the donor and will then email ticket number details.
Tickets are also available at the Fraser Island Retreat's general store during August to September.
Where and how
Happy Valley Retreat is on Fraser Island's eastern beach and is a 10-minute drive to Eli Creek and a 20-minute drive to the Maheno shipwreck.
All fish weighed in must be of legal size.
Entrants are asked to ensure they fish outside the closed waters area between Indian Head and Waddy Point.
This includes on the foreshore within an area from a point 400m north of Waddy Point to a point 400m south of Indian Head, and 400m out to sea from low water.
There is an opportunity for businesses to pledge $2000 plus GST or gifts-in-kind and in return will receive acknowledgement throughout the event with signage and all media and marketing material. Kingfisher Bay Resort, Bob's Tyres, Skydive Hervey Bay, Bunnings Warehouse, Fisherman's Corner, Road Tech Marine and Rainbow Beach 4x4 are among some of the current sponsors of the charity. The TV series My Fishing Place will also travel to the Island to cover this year's event.