Meet Jennifer Edlington

I find it astonishing that such a vital medical resource like a hospital helipad requires charitable funding. If there had been no helipad or helicopter I wouldn’t have got the specialist care I desperately needed. It’s as simple as that.

I was having a motorcycle lesson, when I lost control of my bike and suffered serious injuries to my back, pelvis, collar bone, ribs and lungs. As it was suspected that I had a spinal injury, the North West Air Ambulance lifted me to the Preston Royal Hospital, which is a major trauma centre with a helipad beside the emergency department. The speed of my journey meant that in just four minutes, I could receive the specialist treatment I urgently needed.

If I had gone by road ambulance, I would have been taken to another hospital that was closer by road, but without the same level of specialist trauma care.

During my recovery I spoke with my consultants who said that time was of the essence in treating me, as I had huge difficulty in breathing and with my multiple fractures, including a broken spine, it was vital to assess the extent of the damage as quickly as possible. Having a helipad at the hospital and the speed of the air ambulance was essential in cutting down the time it took to get me to the care I needed.

Since the incident, I’ve gone through intensive physiotherapy and have built up enough strength and fitness to trek to Everest Base Camp and travel to Tanzania where I successfully climbed to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free standing mountain in the world. They were both amazing but incredibly tough challenges, and I’m very proud of myself. I think for the time being I’m going to put my feet up, but I’m sure my next adventure won’t be far away.

I feel very lucky to have been given a second chance. But I also know that it’s been down to my positive attitude and desire to get fit and well. A life changing accident doesn’t define you, it’s what you do next that does.

To be honest I didn’t know about the HELP Appeal. But I find it astonishing that such a vital medical resource like a hospital helipad requires charitable funding. It’s not well known enough, and I think it’s taken for granted that there will be a helicopter and somewhere for it to land at hospital if someone ever becomes seriously ill. But that’s not always the case and I was one of the lucky ones.

• There are just under 200,000 casualties in reported road traffic accidents every year in Great Britain.
• Jennifer was one of them. Thankfully she made a full recovery.
• The HELP Appeal has helped to fund 18 hospital helipads across the country including Preston Royal Hospital where Jennifer landed.