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#WhyWeRun – Sarah Laurie returns a helping hand

This inspirational voyage introduces us to Sarah Laurie, a caring woman who dedicates her participation in events to raise awareness and funds for local helicopters as she was faced with a traumatic experience last year. 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I have had a somewhat eventful life. I was born in the Bay of Islands where my parents were farming so I grew up a country girl. Later in life I completed two Bachelor’s of Health Science’s at Massey University and have done paramedic training as well. I also worked in a secure dementia unit. Now I work part-time at Wellington Children’s Hospital with Children who are terminally sick and have behavioural problems. I also work part-time with my parent’s company doing landscaping, garden maintenance and truck work. I am a volunteer with the St John Ambulance Caring Caller programme which I have done for 6 year’s now.

During my time at Wellington Children’s Hospital, I have had a lot to do with the Life Flight Rescue Plane and have been up in it a few times. That is how my interest in all Air Rescue Helicopters started. I take part in these walking events to aid my own fitness and raise vital funds for the local rescue helicopters. Attending these events enables me to meet many rescue crews at the helicopter bases from around the country.

Why did you choose the Tauranga International Marathon?

The Tauranga event looks like an awesome event to do – and it is time to do some fundraising for the Tauranga Trustpower Rescue Helicopter.

Why are you so interested in Rescue Helicopters?

Having been in the Life Flight plane I see what an important resource the Air Rescue services are to people. On November 26th 2017, I was at home and went outside to see the Waikato Rescue Helicopter circling low above my house then coming down to land on State Highway 2 at Maramarua.

Unbeknown to me, my Dad was involved in that crash and they were there to pick him up. The Waikato Rescue Helicopter flew Dad to Hospital in a critical condition. I first knew that Dad was involved was when I called his mobile and the paramedic answered. Dad had a bad head injury and multiple fractures including a broken jaw. Also injuries to his arm where it was pinned under the vehicle.

The police had to drive me through the crash scene so I could meet Mum. As soon as I saw the wreck I thought there is no way Dad could survive. The NZ Herald did a story a day after the crash about the loving care given to our dog Bella, who did not survive her injuries, by a policeman and passerby. If it had not been for the speed of the rescue helicopter, the outcome would have been a lot worse. Now Dad has made a full recovery.

So I have a personal experience with the helicopters and that spurs me on to help raise the vital funds they need to stay in the air so they can be there for everyone like they were there for my family.

What do you do for fundraising?

Other than having the online fundraising pages and coin tins around, I spend any spare time I get doing embroidery. The last one I have just finished took me 8 months to complete and I have done 15 now. I give them to the different helicopters and they can choose to sell them or hold onto them. The most money that has been raised selling one was $700. Now I have been contacted by the Rescue Helicopter in Tasmania asking if I could do one of my works for them.

And the running?

Last year I signed up for the Taupo Marathon, however heading to the start line I slipped on some icy stairs and dislocated my knee (the hospital had to put it back in). This year I will try again and have signed up for the Taupo Marathon and the Tauranga International Marathon.

In regards to my physical fitness it has always been a challenge, but doing these events helps me to overcome these challenges. These events are the catalyst to keep me helping myself and others and by completing these walks it is nice to receive the recognition of these achievements.

What is it that keeps you going?

The biggest inspiration for me doing the walking events and fundraising for the local rescue helicopters is I love helping people. We never know if/when we may need a rescue helicopter like my family did, and I will do whatever I can to help keep them in the air to help people. I was brought up with the saying “It is Better to Give than to Receive.”



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