“If it wasn’t for them I might not be here now.”
Those are the grateful words of teenager Lauren Boylen whose life was saved after being treated by Great North Air Ambulance paramedics following a horror fall.
Lauren, of Rickleton, in Washington, was enjoying a day out with friends at Mowbray Park in Sunderland when she slipped from a cliff edge and plunged 24ft to the ground.
The 14-year-old suffered more than 20 fractures from the neck up, including fractured cheekbones and eye sockets.
Thankfully, paramedics from the Great North Air Ambulance flew to the scene to treat her, placing her in a coma before she was taken to the RVI in Newcastle by road ambulance.
Despite medics initially thinking she would need months of rehabilitation, she bounced back to be able to go home less than a fortnight later.
Now aged 18, the former Sunderland High, Biddick School and New College Durham pupil said: “I can’t remember anything of the accident.
“I was just out with friends and then the next thing I was waking up in hospital.
“The doctors expected me to be in hospital for six months but it was actually only 11 days.
“The only thing that’s been affected is my hearing but apart from that I’m fine.”
Lauren and others who owe the Great North Air Ambulance (GNAAS) a debt of gratitude are now supporting the charity’s annual Air Angels Ball, which takes place at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead on June 15 next year.
“They saved me, completely,” said Lauren, whose mum Susan, 50, dad Graeme, 51, and brother Alex, 21, have all been involved in fund-raising since Lauren’s fall in July 2014.
“It’s crazy to think that what happened to me is something that the paramedics and doctors deal with every day.
“We’ve done a few things to help fund-raise and my brother even did a skydive.
“The charity is never far from our minds because if it wasn’t for them I might not be here now.”
Ruth Davey, events co-ordinator at GNAAS, said: “We need £5million a year to keep two helicopters flying 365 days with a paramedic and doctor on board.
“We’re very grateful to all the people who support us and the charity ball should be a fantastic evening.”