More than 100 showjumpers and horse riders are set to take part in a fundraising event in Co Clare this weekend to raise vital funds for CRITICAL, the emergency medical response charity.
All funds raised during the Heather Hewitt Memorial Cup at Clare Equestrian Centre on Sunday, September 17th will be used to expand the charity’s network of emergency medical responders in communities across Ireland.
The responders include Consultants, Specialists and GPs with significant experience in emergency medicine. There are currently 10 doctors who volunteer with CRITICAL in Donegal, Mayo, Dublin, Wicklow, Waterford and North Cork. There are plans to expand to further locations in the coming months.
The doctors will soon be joined by off-duty paramedics, EMTs and Advanced Paramedics from the National Ambulance Service who will be tasked to emergencies in their local communities.
It costs an average of €25,000 to establish an Advanced level Volunteer Doctor in the community; €120,000 to put a new Critical Care response vehicle on the road; and €1,500 to provide an Emergency Backpack to each off-duty responder all of which are funded by donations.
Heather Hewitt tragically lost her life in a horse riding incident in Galway in April of this year. Her cousin, fellow horse rider and paramedic Jess Parsons has organised the event in her memory with the Glenway and Burren riding clubs.
There will be 15 showing classes, 10 dressage classes and 10 show jumping classes. The club with the most points will be presented with the Heather Hewitt Memorial Cup by Heather’s riding club and her husband Kieran.
Jess Parsons said: “All horse riders are aware of how vulnerable they are whether they’re training or competing and unfortunately accidents like Heather’s occur. As a paramedic I know just how important the first few minutes are after a serious incident. We organised the show to remember Heather and the incredible person she was but we also want to create a legacy for her. The funds raised in her name will be used to equip doctors, paramedics and other emergency responders with the equipment they need to answer life threatening calls in their local area, even when they’re not on duty. I would like to thank everyone who has signed up to compete, the businesses who have provided thousands of euro worth of prizes and everyone who has donated. It promises to be a fantastic day.”
Micheál Sheridan, CEO of CRITICAL added, “The aim of our charity is to empower communities to save lives and all funds raised in Heather’s memory will help us to expand to new locations. The demands on our emergency services are increasing every year and we believe that community-based medical responders have a huge role to play especially in rural areas. The population outside of Dublin is widely dispersed but there are doctors, paramedics and other trained professionals in towns and villages who have the skills and want to help. Events like this and donations from the public allow us to provide these volunteers with the equipment they need to be able to respond quickly and potentially save lives.”
CRITICAL’s volunteer doctors work closely with the National Ambulance Service and are tasked to care for the sickest and most seriously injured patients. They regularly respond to road traffic collisions, cardiac arrests, farming accidents and other major traumas within 30km of where they live but can be called further if their expertise and help is required.
The charity has also agreed to a partnership with the National Ambulance Service (NAS) that sees NAS Off-Duty staff volunteering with CRITICAL whilst responding to potentially life-threatening emergencies in their local communities. It is providing each responder with an Emergency Backpack containing a defibrillator, a resuscitation kit, and a medical diagnostic kit, all funded by donations.