Air Ambulance Northern Ireland, supported by Boost Drinks, has launched the annualThree Peaks Challenge’ which encourages everyone to look forward to getting together again and sign up for climbing one, two or three of Northern Ireland’s famous mountains in aid of the life-saving charity.

Taking place during national Air Ambulance month, Air Ambulance NI and Boost Drinks are asking people to register at airambulanceni.org/upcoming-events to climb Slemish in Co Antrim on September 12th, Cuilcagh in Co Fermanagh on September 19th and Slieve Donard in Co Down on September 26th.

Right now, you can sign up to complete one, two or three of the peaks physically, or, for the first time, a virtual challenge has been created for walkers to complete from the comfort of their own home. You can choose which of the three peaks you would like to virtually complete by climbing the equivalent number of flights of stairs!

The Three Peaks Challenge was set up in 2019 to help raise awareness and essential funds.  So why not ask your workmates, friends or family to sign up and take on the challenge. The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) has been tasked 1,393 times to serious and life-threatening situations throughout the province and relies on donations to continue operating.

One such emergency and in fact the very first deployment was to Conor McMullan from Castlewellan who at the age of just 11 needed urgent medical attention.  Conor was working on the family farm when he was struck by a tractor trailer and suffered a serious head injury. The HEMS consultant and a HEMS paramedic were able to immediately administer critical care interventions to Conor and stabilise him.  These types of interventions can significantly reduce the chances of long-term damage to the brain from head injury.   Conor McMullan and his family will be taking part in this year’s Three Peaks Challenge.

John McMullan, father of Conor McMullan, said: “Since Conor’s accident in 2017, we have been huge supporters of Air Ambulance NI and have wanted to get more involved with the charity. 

“The Three Peaks Challenge is right up our street as a family and something we can all get involved in.  Air Ambulance NI is a service we certainly never thought we would ever need but we will always be very grateful to the team who attended to Conor. 

“We are encouraging all of our family, friends and the community to come along and get involved – it’ll be a challenge but a great day out! Please support this service and help ensure that the HEMS is available for other families in the future should they need it,” John continued.

Air Ambulance NI, in partnership with Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) provides the HEMS for Northern Ireland and requires £5,500 a day from donations and fund-raising to sustain operations.

Kerry Anderson, Head of Fundraising at AANI, said: The Air Ambulance medical team continue to be tasked out to traumas like Conor’s on average once or twice every day.  The life-saving service is there for us every day, and pre-hospital critical care can mean the difference between life and death.   Such a crucial service for everyone means that even in these challenging times, fundraising has to continue.  

“The Three Peaks involved over 365 people last year, a tremendous effort.  That team collectively raised nearly £15k, keeping the team flying for almost three days.  So, we’re delighted to be able to offer this again, supported by Boost Drinks. Our supporters are looking forward to walking our beautiful peaks after necessary lockdown protocols are eased; and our events partner at Life will work with us around any necessary social distancing requirements that are needed.  We’re also delighted to have the virtual option available for those who wish to register that way now, or if circumstances mean it’s needed for all,” Kerry added.

Air Ambulance NI brings urgent medical assistance to anywhere in the province, operating seven days a week for 12 hours per day. It can get to anywhere in Northern Ireland in approximately twenty-five minutes. This Doctor / Paramedic service benefits those whose lives are at serious risk following significant injury or trauma. Effectively the service brings emergency hospital care direct to the casualty.

We are thrilled to help launch the Three Peaks Challenge 2020 in partnership with Air Ambulance NI that will raise funds for a life-saving service available to the Northern Ireland public should they need it,” said Kim Jacks, Boost Drinks’ Consumer Brand Manager.

As our 2020 charity partner we are supporting Air Ambulance NI and encourage people of all abilities to take part and do something very worthwhile. You can walk at your own pace and spend quality time with friends and family – which I know will be greatly appreciated after a tough start to the year,” continued Kim.

The registration fee per location / peak costs £20 or £50 to register for all three. Participants are asked to fundraise a minimum of £55 each to help keep the service operational.  To find out more and to donate to the Three Peaks Challenge visit airambulanceni.org

[ends]

MEDIA ENQUIRIES:  For further information, please contact Ciara Kinkead or Jillian Frew of Duffy Rafferty Communications on ciara@duffyrafferty.com / jillian@duffyrafferty.com