Lily walking on air again after helicopter rescue drama

Lily Henderson is grateful for the care she received from the air ambulance which kept her alive. Picture: Michael Gillen
Lily Henderson is grateful for the care she received from the air ambulance which kept her alive. Picture: Michael Gillen

A picturesque ramble in the great outdoors almost ended in tragedy for a keen walker who had to be airlifted to hospital at death’s door.

Lily Henderson was with four friends enjoying a walking trip in Millport on the island of Great Cumbrae, North Ayrshire, last November.

The SCAA works in co-operation with the Scottish Air Ambulance Service and Scottish Ambulance Service. Picture: Graeme Hart

The SCAA works in co-operation with the Scottish Air Ambulance Service and Scottish Ambulance Service. Picture: Graeme Hart

On the way back from their little jaunt, 70-year-old Lily collapsed to the ground in what was a suspected fall at the time. The reality turned out to be much worse.

Realising something was seriously wrong, friends Margaret Meechan, Gina Girvan and Irene Laurie sent for help and got Lily to a local chemist who then arranged for a taxi to take her to Cumbrae’s Lady Margaret Hospital.

A doctor there quickly diagnosed Lily had suffered a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) – a mini stroke – and called for a helicopter to take her to the mainland to save her life.

Lily, a mother-of-two, said: “We thought I had just slipped at first, but it ended up my blood pressure was dangerously high.

“The doctor said I had to go to the specialised stroke unit at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock and it would be by helicopter.

“I got a real fright, I could have died there and then my blood pressure was so dangerous.

“On the helicopter I took some kind of fit and started shaking. The paramedic on board was absolutely amazing and I can’t thank him enough for taking such great care of me.”

Having just recovered from her death-defying ordeal, Lily does want to give something back for all the care she received through those dark moments and has organised an 8K sponsored walk round the Kelpies on October 8 to raise money for Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA).

The charity was set up in 2013 to assist the Scottish Air Ambulance Service (SAAS) to deliver frontline care in time-critical emergencies across the country from its base in Perth.

The charity isn’t supported by any statutory or government funding and the service is funded solely by donations from private individuals, companies and community trusts.

Lily added: “I’m really grateful for all the care the air ambulance and the NHS gave me so I wanted to give something back, especially as the SCAA doesn’t get any government funding.”

“I’m hoping to raise at least £1000 and I have loads of raffle prizes to give away for after the walk from hair and nail appointments, Champagne and other drinks given to me by local shops and a £50 voucher for the Tea House in Larbert.”

Chief executive of Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance David Craig praised Lily for her fundraising efforts.

He said: “We’re delighted to hear Lily has recovered well and wish the whole group the best for their walk. And we’ll be delighted to welcome her to our base at Perth Airport in the near future.

“SCAA relies totally on public donations and it is selfless fundraising activities such as this which help to keep us flying every day of the year.”

DETAILS

Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) provides a fully equipped medical helicopter that can be deployed from its central base at Perth Airport to incidents across the length and breadth of Scotland.

The air ambulance works in close co-operation with the Scottish Ambulance Service which provides the paramedic staff that crew the helicopter. SAS tasks the SCAA helicopter across Scotland through their Ambulance Control Centres.

The charity is not supported by any statutory funding and the service is funded solely by donations from private individuals, companies and community trusts.

The SCAA purpose is to provide relief of sickness and injury and the protection of human life.

In time-critical medical emergencies there are four core aims: save life; preserve life; increase survival rates; and assist the speed of recovery.

People can support the life-saving work of SCAA by making a monthly Direct Debit donation. Through this support, SCAA is able to plan and develop its service in the knowledge that donors will continue their commitment to the charity’s work on a regular basis.

Donations can also be made by texting ‘SCAA01 £5‘ to 70070 to donate £5. Text messages are free from all networks.

If you would like to fundraise for the SCAA, visit www.easyfundraising.org.uk.
SCAA is also seeking volunteers to place collecting cans in their local area. Volunteers will be the point of contact in your area that will service the cans. You are fully supported by a staff member and given full instructions. If you have a few spare hours and would like to get out and about in your community – visit www.scaa.org.uk or contact 0300 123 1111.