Up on the roof for the ball

GNAAS patients gathered on the helipad at the RVI in Newcastle to promote the charity’s 2019 ball.

Patients whose lives were saved by the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) are urging residents of the region to attend the charity’s fundraising ball next year.

Stephanie Wilkinson, James Kavanagh, and Lauren Boylen required the help of GNAAS after being involved in serious incidents. The trio are now inviting other supporters to come to the charity’s annual Air Angels Ball which takes place in Gateshead on June 15, 2019.

The three former patients all attended this year’s event, which raised £18,000, and today (OCT 18) met GNAAS crew on the helipad at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle.

Miss Wilkinson, 21, from Whittingham, Alnwick, was injured in a car crash on the A697 in September 2017 and sustained significant injuries, including internal bleeding, which required a roadside blood-transfusion by the GNAAS paramedic and doctor team.

She said: “I think GNAAS is amazing and without them I wouldn’t be alive today. The Air Angels Charity Ball is a fantastic night full of laughter and dancing.”

Mr Kavanagh, 21, from Jesmond, was involved in a head-on collision with his mother in Gosforth on December 25 2015 and suffered multiple serious injuries including fractures to his spine, femur, ankle and foot.

He said: “Thanks to the generous support of the public GNAAS treats hundreds of the most critically-ill and injured individuals, like me, across our region every year. The ball is always a hugely enjoyable evening for a cause very close to my heart.”

In 2014, Miss Boylen, 18, from Washington, sustained more than 20 fractures from the neck up, after falling 24ft off a cliff at Mowbray Park in Sunderland and had to be put into an induced coma by the GNAAS team to stop her brain from swelling.

She said: “I wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for GNAAS, they are the reason why I’m here. I absolutely love the ball. Every year it’s a great occasion to dress up and get together and have fun while also supporting a great cause.”

The three former GNAAS patients were joined at the RVI by Ryan Davies, managing director of Newcastle software firm Surge. Mr Davies attended the 2018 ball and won a flight to Dubai on the night.

He said: “It’s important for businesses to get behind local causes. We are proud to support the air ambulance and the brilliant work they do.”

The ball takes place at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead. Tickets are £60 per person and include a three-course meal, live music, a disco and other entertainment. In addition there will be an auction, prize draws, and a raffle.

To buy your tickets, click here or call 01325-487263.

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