Volunteers from St John Ambulance are walking and running 999km throughout June in a monumental feat, to raise funds to replace the organisation’s life-saving defibrillators.
With more than 150km already completed, volunteers from St John Ambulance Head Quarters Transport Division have dedicated yet more of their time and take on the challenge.
Interim Unit Manager Neil Fusco of St John Ambulance explained that their four emergency frontline ambulances and rapid response vehicle are all vital.
“These vehicles are all equipped to the same standard as the statutory ambulance service,” he said.
“Sadly, their defibrillators are coming to the end of life and the division needs to buy new ones. Each defibrillator costs around £1,500 and five are needed.”
With the walk underway Neil said it is an extreme challenge.
“Trust us, after chatting to some of the volunteers we can concur that their challenge to walk 999km is no easy feat to achieve,” he said.
“That is more than 620 miles, but all are willing, even if there may be some blisters to treat.”
St John Ambulance Head Quarters Transport Division based in Carryduff is a well-recognised sight at events like the Ulster Rugby and out and about supporting the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.
“During the Covid crisis the St John volunteers stepped forward to assist in many ways including responding to calls for Emergency Ambulance Control and transporting Covid positive patients, explained Neil.
“Since the pandemic began the division has assisted NIAS on over 162 shifts, attending to 427 patients, covering 10,799 miles, over 1,082 hours.”
To help keep each vehicle at the standard required they will need to replace the equipment.
“Any donation, no matter how small, will help the unit to buy these new life-saving defibrillators,” he said.
“Every donation, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated.”
If you’d like to know more or donate, please visit the division’s fundraising page at https://bit.ly/2T1oFto.
For more information on the vital work that St John Ambulance undertakes visit https://sjani.org.