A kick-off event to launch the annual STARS calendar campaign was held in Saskatoon on Wednesday.
Viterra has sponsored the fundraiser since 2015 by covering the printing costs of roughly 65,000 calendars sold across Western Canada every year.
The calendar features stories of patients while raising funds to ensure STARS air ambulance crews can be there for the next one who needs a lift.
Saskatchewan rancher Kirk Wall is one patient featured in the 2020 calendar.
“We’re south of Swift Current, half an hour out of Neville. Just to get into town it’s a half-hour to (drive) to the hospital and they can’t do surgery on a spleen there so you got to get to Regina or Saskatoon,” he said.
“When you live in rural (areas), time’s critical. STARS can get you back into Regina in 50 minutes and sometimes that’s the difference in whether you live or die. Especially when you’re out in the middle of nowhere, it’s a long way to the hospital and even at that point, they can’t always do everything they need to in your local medical facilities.”
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Since 1985, STARS has offered emergency medical transportation for the critically ill and injured. It now operates 24-7 from bases in Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg.
People can purchase calendars for $30 at most Viterra locations and all STARS bases. All proceeds go directly to STARS.
Viterra is a grain handling business headquartered in Regina.