The Irish Community Air Ambulance has launched a fundraising campaign as part of International Air Ambulance Week and is asking “What if there was no Air Ambulance?” The organisation, which is Ireland’s first and only charity-funded HEMS Air Ambulance, is being called to more missions than ever. The helicopter was launched 388 times during the first eight months of the year with July 2021 one of its busiest months to date. Crews were tasked to 57 separate incidents in eight counties, during July, at a cost of almost €200,000. Each mission costs an average of €3,500, all of which has to be raised or donated. The Irish Community Air Ambulance has released a video highlighting the importance of the service and is asking members of the public to help it to save lives by visiting the website www.communityairambulance.ie and making a donation. It is also asking schools and businesses to get involved in International Air Ambulance Week by wearing Red or Yellow and making a donation this Friday, September 10th, or any day during September. The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) works in partnership with the National Ambulance Service and is ready to respond to serious incidents and medical emergencies from its base in Rathcoole in North Cork seven days a week. Micheál Sheridan, CEO of the Irish Community Air Ambulance says, “We bring hope when it’s needed most. Over the last two years we have been tasked to more than 1,000 missions which proves that our organisation is a vital life-changing service. Our crews have brought the most seriously injured and sickest patients to the hospital that best suits their life-saving needs. The question is though, what would have happened if there was no Air Ambulance to respond to these emergencies? Demand for our service is continuing to increase which means that our costs are also increasing. Fundraising during Covid-19 has been extremely challenging which is why we’re issuing this appeal and asking people can you help fund our next mission?” The Irish Community Air Ambulance is on track to complete more than 500 missions this year and is predicting a 10% increase since 2020. Cork and Kerry are the counties most likely to require the service however, the Air Ambulance is regularly called to Limerick, Tipperary, Clare, Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny, Wicklow and as far away as Galway and Mayo. Incidents range from road traffic collisions, cardiac arrests and farming accidents, to equestrian incidents and falls from heights. Deirdre Ormond’s 41-year-old son Paul was milking cows when he was attacked by a bull in July of this year. He suffered serious injuries and was airlifted from the family farm near Clonmel to hospital in Cork by the Irish Community Air Ambulance. Deirdre said, “Paul has no recollection of what happened but it’s believed the bull went for him as he went to bring in a line of cows. The bull’s dead weight was 460kgs which meant that his live weight was over 900kgs. He was a huge bull, Paul was lucky he wasn’t killed. We are eternally grateful to the emergency services. The helicopter was here within 20 minutes, it’s unbelievable. The local paramedics told me that the helicopter would be in Cork with a team ready to work on Paul before they would be back in Clonmel. I am surprised that the Air Ambulance has to be funded by donations. Every single rural organisation should be funding that helicopter service.” For more information about the service, or to make a donation directly to the Irish Community Air Ambulance visit https://communityairambulance.ie. You can also donate €4 by texting FLIGHT to 50300.