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March 2, 2024

Ballina to Byron for the chopper

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Katie Martin doesn’t remember anything about the car accident that left her in a critical condition with head and internal injuries in 2001.

However, she does know that she probably owes her life to the Westpac Life Saver Helicopter.

Katie was 20 when she was involved in a car accident at Alstonville and was flown by the helicopter from Lismore Base Hospital and then up to Brisbane.

The accident happened on 19 November 2001 and Katie had no memory of the accident until New Year’s Day 2002.

Luckily the helicopter flew her to Brisbane fast and after months of treatment Katie slowly recovered.

‘If I had to go by ambulance I don’t know if I’d be here,’ Katie said.

‘I’m still here but without the helicopter I wonder where I would be.’

Katie thinks the Ballina to Byron Bay Charity Walk is the ‘something’ she has been waiting for to thank the helicopter for helping save her life.

‘When I heard about the walk, I said, ‘Hell yeah, I’m doing it!’

The Ballina to Byron Bay Charity Walk is a 37km coastal walk for teams and individuals who can choose to walk 12km, 25km or 37km.

The walk is being held on Sunday 20 May and participants are encouraged to register and start training and fundraising now in preparation for the walk.

It is also a celebration of sorts for the 30th anniversary of the helicopter.

Despite having an hereditary muscle disease that has left her with weak legs, Katie is determined to attempt the full 37km coastal walk.

‘I’m a very determined person,’ Katie said.

At the official launch of the event Katie already had an aunt and uncle, friend and boyfriend signed up and reckons she will have a team of six walking with her.

‘I think being with lots of people as part of the helicopter community, along the beautiful coastline, to thank the helicopter will be a fantastic event to be part of.

‘You never know when you might need it.’

For more information and to register go to www.ballinatobyronbaywalk.com.au or phone Krystal on 6627 4444.

Image: At the official launch of the Ballina to Byron Charity Walk to raise funds for the Westpac Life Saver Helicopter last week were past patients Katie Martin and brothers Jackson and Harry Falvey (front).


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