REGINA — STARS received a resounding burst of community support at one of it's biggest fundraising efforts of the year, with the entire province coming together to donate to Rescue on the Prairie.
The emergency medical service hosted the first Rescue on the Prairie fundraiser since 2019, which was greeted by a huge outpouring of support.
With the help of all four participants, the 2021 Rescue on the Prairie raised over $427,000 in donations yesterday — more than double the $200,000 goal set by the event.
“[It was] tremendous to see the way the people of Saskatchewan stepped up to support STARS; no different than the way that STARS steps up to help the people of Saskatchewan,” said participant Jordan Clarke, sales director at Ritchie Bros.
Alongside Clarke, Western Sales vice-president of precision agronomy Corey Leonard, president of Border Insulators & R&R Tank and Equipment Rentals Ryan Saxon, and board chair Wayne Morsky from the Regina Exhibition Association Limited stepped up to take part in the event.
“It's a group effort. It's not just individual, it's not a competition. It's about what we can help STARS with, as the four of us together, and that's the important part,” said Morsky, at the beginning of the day.
Partnering with a crew member, the four participants tackled a series of challenges including a flight readiness race, a simulated medical scenario, a scavenger hunt and a 30-minute phones-only fundraising challenge.
Winners of each challenge received some sponsored cash donations to add to their individual totals, which were set at a goal of $50,000 each.
Each challenge also offered a glimpse at STARS operations and the everyday tasks that crew members perform during their duties.
“Learning what a day-in-the-life looks like for the medical staff and pilots really helped give me context as to just how important the money is,” said Leonard.
STARS is tasked with raising half of its own operating funds each year, totalled at $10.5 million, which it does through fundraisers, corporate sponsorship and community donors.
Rescue on the Prairie is one of the organization’s largest fundraising events, with every cent raised being used to keep STARS helicopters in the air.
“STARS was built by the community for the community, and this amazing event certainly demonstrated that," said president and CEO Andrea Robertson. “A heartfelt thank you to the people of Saskatchewan for their incredibly generous support.”