I was hit by six-tonne truck on Bruxner Hwy and survived
FOR financial planner Les McGuire, you can't put a price on the lifesaving work of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
On January 23, 1999, Les was involved in an accident where, as a pedestrian, he was hit by a six-tonne truck on the Bruxner Highway in Goonellabah.
"I don't remember the actual accident," he said.
"I was unconscious and placed in an induced coma, essentially fighting for life at the time.
"I had been pronounced clinically dead at the scene and revived, and then again at the Lismore Base Hospital following a grand mal seizure (violent muscle contractions and a loss of consciousness)."
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter was called to transport Les to Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital, although he doesn't remember the flight.
"Consciously I don't remember anything. However, in a comatose state, I remember them looking after me incredibly well," he said.
Paramedics didn't think Les would survive, but 10 months after the accident he was back playing first-grade cricket.
"I was determined to recover - through extreme discipline, dedication to the cause and absolute resilience, miraculously (I did)," he said.
Les was involved in another motor vehicle accident in 2015, although he didn't require the Westpac helicopter.
"These events make you aware of how important the Westpac Helicopter is, as you never know when you may need it," he said.
"If it weren't for the Westpac helicopter being based in Lismore, my life would have tragically ended on January 23, 1999."
For past patients like Les who have given another shot at life, Rescue Day is a chance to give back to the service.
"Donating money and supporting the Westpac helicopter is what saves lives," he said.
"One week before my accident, my brother and I walked down to the 24-hour Mobil service station on Ballina St in Lismore.
"After buying our junk food, I had some leftover change of about $3, which I donated to the helicopter by placing it in a collection tin on the counter.
"My brother said, 'Wow, you could have given that to me. I'm a Uni student.'
"I said, 'Tim, you never know when you might need the helicopter', and sure enough one week later here I was being saved by the helicopter.
"The Westpac helicopter is such an amazing, essential service for our region and you just never know when you or someone will need the service, so we are blessed having this amazing service as part of our region based in Lismore."
Rescue Day is the Service's annual community appeal day on Friday August 9 and to launch the appeal the Ballina RSL Club generously donated $10,000.
Club Chairman Blue McNally and CEO Bill Coulter presented Mr McGuire the cheque on behalf of all past patients who have benefited from the Service.