It's not long until Air Ambulance Week 2020 takes off across the UK celebrating the lifesaving work of the UK's 21 air ambulance charities from 7th to 13th September.
The week will highlight how air ambulance charities save lives every day by bringing emergency department care directly to the side of patients who are critically ill and injured, and appeal to the public to donate to help the UK's air ambulance charities continue to provide lifesaving care now and in the future.
Each year the UK's 21 air ambulance charities are dispatched to over 25,000 missions, meaning that during Air Ambulance Week there will be nearly 500 patients who are in need of the rapid transportation of the skills and expertise of an air ambulance's critical care team, because every second counts.
Air ambulance charities are an emergency service funded almost entirely by the public. Each air missions mission costs around £2,500 and is almost entirely funded by donations, as there is no regular direct funding from the Government.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, air ambulance charities have faced many challenges including a significant drop in donations as the economic effects of the pandemic have taken hold.
Despite this, they have not only continued to provide lifesaving treatment, but have also played a vital role on the frontline response to COVID-19. Their committed teams remain dedicated and ready and able to save lives when someone is having the worst day of their life.
Kevin Stevens from Warwickshire has always had a connection with Midlands Air Ambulance, having previously worked as a commercial chartered surveyor in the very building that now houses the charity's headquarters.
What Kevin didn't expect was to become a patient of this essential pre-hospital service.
One autumn afternoon a suspected stroke at the wheel caused Kevin's right foot to slam on the accelerator of his car. After clipping a tree, the car spun uncontrollably and crashed into a tree side on, causing Kevin to suffer further life-threatening injuries.
The father of three was in a critical condition and in urgent need of advanced clinical care. Due to Kevin's fragile state, the expert clinical aircrew from the RAF Cosford airbase was dispatched to the scene alongside the team from Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance.
Kevin said: "I don't recall the day of the incident at all, I'm still piecing it together, but I have been told the severity of the accident meant land ambulances, the fire service, police and two air ambulances, including one of Midlands Air Ambulance Charity's helicopters, were scrambled to assist me."
Consultant Dr Neil Abeysinghe for MAAC said: "A stroke can be life-threatening. This, coupled with a crash at 70mph and Kevin was in a very poorly state when we arrived. It was a real team effort with two different air ambulance organisations in attendance to provide Kevin with the very best clinical care available.
"We all worked together with the other emergency services, providing advanced critical care to stabilise Kevin's condition while the fire service extracted him from the vehicle. It took a number of hours. It's incidents like this where the advanced medication and procedures we can bring to the scene really do make a difference."
The crash left Kevin with extensive injuries. His most severe included several fractures to his skull, he broke all but three ribs and his back. "I was a bit of a write-off to be honest," he said.
Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance flew Kevin to the major trauma centre, Coventry Walsgrave Hospital, where he was put into a medically induced coma for over a month. He was ventilated, fed by tubes and later learnt his heart went into cardiac arrest 17 times while on the operating table.
"Years on I still have outpatient appointments at a number of hospitals depending on their specialism. It's been quite a journey, but I'm a better person for it. I am now working to support those less fortunate than myself. I'm here because of those wonderful people who never gave up on me, and I can't thank them enough."
If like Kevin, you have been treated by Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, and would be happy to share your story, please let the team know by contacting 0800 8 40 20 40 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about Air Ambulance Week 2020 or to donate visit www.airambulancesuk.org or follow #AAW2020 #BecauseEverySecondCounts