Brave Ben recommends “Rescue Reunion”

Pukekohe’s Ben Macdonald with Intensive Care Paramedic, Rob Gemmell, at the 2015 “Rescue Reunion” event.

If you’ve experienced the services of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, you would’ve been glad they were around when you needed them.

Now there’s a chance to join other patients and rescue crew, at the second “Rescue Reunion” event.
“Reunions with patients don’t happen very often,” says event organiser, Kerrie Spicer. “Often the last crew see of a patient, is when they’re passed into the care of the hospital.”  Ben Macdonald of Pukekohe, attended the first “Rescue Reunion” event which was held in 2015.
In 2008, Ben suffered severe injuries after a driver travelling in the opposite direction, attempted to overtake a concrete truck and collided head on with the car Ben was driving.
After being trapped for an hour, Ben was flown by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter to Auckland Hospital in a critical condition. A four month hospital stay, followed by a further 16 months in a rehab facility took up much of the next two years of his life.
The accident left Ben in a wheelchair, with only limited use of his left side and with brain injuries. He requires 24/7 care and is unable to talk. He uses an iPad for communication.
Almost ten years on from the accident, Ben says he is making progress, can do more things and recently managed to travel to Australia to see a friend get married.
Proud Mum Del says these are really positive comments from Ben, whose life has been extremely challenging since the accident. “Ben is always positive and has an incredible sense of humour. We feel very lucky to have Ben, and are grateful to the medical staff and Westpac Rescue Helicopter.”
To be held in Auckland on Sunday 5 November, the free reunion event will include talks from past patients, rescue crew demonstrations, and other fun activities. Due to space restrictions, only a limited number of guests can attend the event.
If you’ve been a Westpac Rescue Helicopter patient, and would like to be reunited with crew and meet other patients, register now. Contact Kerrie on (09) 950 7222 or email

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