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Retired nurse puts together fundraiser for local search and rescue

A former nurse aims to support Powell River Search and Rescue society through a fundraiser.

Sara Mitchell-Banks is a retired family nurse practitioner who worked extensively in remote communities.

She says through that experience, you understand the necessity of having qualified people in these areas.

“If someone is hurt in a woodlot or a tree comes down on them, you need very skilled people to put that person carefully into a stretcher and get them to the hospital,” said Mitchell-Banks.

“I admire them very much. It’s an extensive amount of training and practice to be able to stay in Search and Rescue so it’s a huge commitment on their side.”

Mitchell-Banks says the fundraiser idea came to her while training for the Marathon Shuffle, an annual event where you hike, run, or shuffle along a 27-kilometer section of the Sunshine Coast Trail.

With members of search and rescue volunteering at the event to make sure people are safe, she began building the fundraiser.

“I started just by putting together a forum, went on Facebook and posted, and I started asking people to donate, even $20,” said Mitchell-Banks.

“Just by myself, I’m now up to $800.”

She says the society gave her a list of some of their equipment, with the goal of raising $10,000 for the organization.

President of search and rescue Todd Phillips says they have been getting more medical calls than searches.

“Most people will have devices where they can contact and we know where they are, it’s just to get them to a location where BC Ambulance or one of the other agencies can pick them up,” said Phillips.

“Some of the medical equipment can get very expensive. We do get some funds from the province, but after that we’re applying for gaming grants. There is always a necessity for more money to buy more gear as we get into more complicated situations.”

He says one of the fundraiser goals is to raise money for a vacuum mat, where they hope the mat can contain spinal but without the intense rigidity of the spine boards. 

For more information on donating, you can email Mitchell-Banks at [email protected].

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