A CRASH victim saved by an air ambulance service is backing its campaign to help rescue others.
The Great North Air Ambulance (GNAA) has launched its 12 Days challenge to raise £30,000 over 12 days – enough to cover the cost of a dozen missions by the service.
The charity, which operates three air ambulance helicopters across the North East, North Yorksire and Cumbria, has recruited 12 supporters who have each been airlifted to hospital to promote ways people can get involved to help the fund reach its goal.
Lucy Ohlson, 28, from Hastings Hill in Sunderland, is among the backers.
She suffered brain injuries, a fracture to her neck, a collapsed lung and lacerated her liver in a road smash, when a plough crashed in to her car.
Doctors feared she would never recover after she fell into a coma after the horrific crash on a road in Stamfordham, Northumberland, September last year.
She was treated by an off-duty doctor before the emergency services arrived. Lucy was removed from the vehicle by firefighters and then airlifted to Newcastle General Hospital.
She has credited the air ambulance and the medics who came to her rescue for saving her life.
Surgeons spent 13 hours operating on her and she was in a coma for a month. She spent six months recovering in hospital.
She continues to deal with the impact of the accident, as it has left her struggling with memory and little feeling in her right arm.
Mandy Drake, head of fund-raising at GNAA, said: “Our supporters throughout the region have enabled us to develop a ground-breaking air ambulance service, but because we are entirely charitably funded, we need to maintain that support going into 2012.
“Every time one of our helicopters responds to an emergency call, it is beginning a potentially life-saving journey.
“We work 365 days a year so our helicopters will be on hand throughout the festive period, although of course we hope they are not called upon.”
Schools, businesses and community groups are being encouraged to help by holding fund-raising events such as cakes sales, dress-down days, carol singing, raffles and mince pie eating competitions.
Dozens have already signed up ahead of the campaign, which begins tomorrow.
Mrs Drake said that one suggestion proving to be popular among work places this year is giving a donation to the charity instead of Christmas cards.
She added: “People constantly surprise us with their ideas for ways to help the charity.”
The fund-raising team can be contacted on 01325 487263 or click here to email.