Evening with STARS to raise funds for helicopter pad

Local resident shares family's experience

An Evening with STARS is set to take stage on Tuesday, April 9at McKenna Hall in Weyburn, starting at 5:30 pm. The affair will host special guests from the STARS Trauma Team, headed by CEO and President Andrea Robertson.

The goal for this fundraising event is to raise funds to build a helicopter emergency landing pad for the future new hospital to serve Weyburn and area. All proceeds will go to the Weyburn and District Hospital Foundation as efforts continue to build and equip a new hospital for Weyburn and area.

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STARS has benefitted and helped many local families, and some of them will be sharing their stories in the coming weeks about this invaluable service, including Jean Fahlman of Weyburn.

She shared how her daughter and son-in-law were directly impacted by the services of the STARS Air Ambulance as they helped save a life.

Michael and Holly Gammon worked as a doctor and nurse in the hospital in Brooks, Alta., but their lives were abruptly changed by a serious accident involving Michael on June 5, 2010, which happened to be his 65th birthday. He was driving from Brooks to Bassano when his car rolled over and he was seriously injured.

“We didn’t know why he had that accident,” said Jean, noting Michael has no memory of the accident. Some time after the accident, Jean and her family met a woman who happened to be a witness of the rollover, and this shed some light on how the accident occurred.

The woman said Michael had passed her on the highway, and while travelling ahead of her, he seemed to turn his head to something in the car. He swerved and hit a soft spot on the shoulder, tried to correct himself and ended up rolling over in the ditch.

Michael was taken to hospital in Brooks, and the doctor on call treated him but had no idea how to deal with the extensive injuries Michael had, so the STARS Air Ambulance was called. Michael’s wife Holly was also there as she had been called in.

“STARS responded with a team with a woman and two men, and they worked on him for two hours before they him stable enough to fly him to Calgary. They were wonderful, and they included Holly in their efforts to save his life,” said Jean. “She thought they were so professional and so compassionate. The care they gave him in Brooks saved his life.”

The woman from the STARS trauma team came to the hospital in Calgary where he was in ICU, and watched as medical staff there continued to treat him.

For her to follow up at the hospital “was above and beyond, with the interest she showed” in his care, and this impressed the family very much, and Jean noted that there is no doubt in Holly’s mind that her husband’s life was saved by their efforts in Brooks before transporting him.

Holly left her job as a nurse, and took up residence in Calgary to be near Michael as he embarked on a long, slow journey to recovery from his severe injuries. Doctors felt he would never walk again, but he is able to walk now with assistance.

“They have had two grandchildren since that time, and he is enjoying them a lot. They are very understanding of his condition,” said Jean.

“We certainly know that STARS saved his life, without any doubt, and for that we are very grateful,” she added. “He’ll never be the same, but he’s better than we thought he would ever be.”

There will be time to meet the STARS trauma team members and ask questions in addition to opportunities to bid on special items. This special fundraising dinner and social evening for STARS will also include representatives from local service providers, including the Weyburn Police Service, Weyburn Fire Brigade, Weyburn Emergency Medical Services, Weyburn General Hospital staff members and the local RCMP detachment, who are stepping up to assist with table service and showcase some of their non-emergency talents.

The community of Weyburn is grateful for the 24-hour service provided by public protective and emergency service providers.

Glenn Rogers of AM1190 will emcee the evening and Angelo Fresnido and his team at McKenna Catering are already at work planning for a great meal, sure to be enjoyed by all who attend.

Dinner tickets of $100 per person will be on sale starting today, March 6, through the Weyburn and District Hospital Foundation office and Pharmasave Weyburn.