Many Saskatchewan residents are still here today thanks to the quick actions of the men and women that make up STARS Air Ambulance within Saskatchewan. In order to continue operations each year, the non-profit organization is required to raise half of the annual operating budget of $10.5 million. The other half of their budget is funded by the Saskatchewan government. Since establishing operations in Saskatchewan in 2012, STARS has flown over 4,000 missions to more than 500 communities across the province. STARS operates 24/7 out of six bases across western Canada, where it has carried out more than 36,000 missions since 1985, and in the 2015-2016 fiscal year, STARS flew 1,041 missions within Saskatchewan.
One event that STARS anticipates could bring in upwards of $250,000 is the STARS Ryde the Hangar event, which will be taking place September 30th at the Saskatoon STARS base. This spin-a-thon will include 120 bikes, five spin studios and 350 people. Upon hearing about this event and wanting to contribute, SoulPower Fitness in Martensville decided to host their own Ryde the Hangar event, which took place Tuesday, July 25th. This one-of-a-kind outdoor spin fundraiser consisted of 16 bikes and ran from 5pm-8pm. Those participating had three options to choose from including; The Pelaton, which was a team of three with each member riding for one hour; The Team Attack, which was a team of two with one member riding for two hours and the other for an hour; The Endurance Pro, with one individual riding for the full three hours. Each bike was registered for $1000, in which local residents and businesses did their own fundraising and collecting of pledges to purchase. The unique event provided fun for all involved with music, prizes, swag bags, yoga, a bouncy castle and babysitter for the kids, as well as food and drinks. As of Wednesday morning, over $20,000 had been raised, with that total continuing to grow. All proceeds from this event will go to STARS, and representatives from the organization were excited to be on hand for the Tuesday night event. Kimberly Kroll-Goodwin, the Development Officer for STARS, spoke about how grateful they were to everyone that participated and explained their plans for the September event in Saskatoon.
Numerous local businesses stepped up to contribute to the SoulPower Fitness event, with many hosting their own mini-fundraisers, with proceeds all going to STARS. Passions Beauty Studio in Warman hosted a fundraiser BBQ on July 6th and raised a total of $4000. Vern’s Pizza in Martensville has also been doing their part by providing a tank top or hat to anyone that makes a $50 donation to STARS and donated pizza to the SoulPower event. Saputo and Dairyland, along with Lakeview Insurance and Dahlia Salon & Spa, who share a parking lot with SoulPower Fitness, were also on hand to contribute to the event.
The Martensville Messenger hosted a STARS Ryde the Hangar Steak Night fundraiser Thursday, July 20th at the Adobe Inn in Martensville, with approximately 90 people attending the event. In addition, Ashlyn Yablonski, the STARS Event Coordinator attended the steak night, where she explained about STARS operations, and provided more details about the upcoming Ryde the Hangar event. “We would like to thank all of the businesses, support groups and everyone that contributed to our event. It just goes to show how much STARS means for the people within this province,” Jocelyn Ottenbreit of the Martensville Messenger stated. With ticket sales, raffle ticket sales, 50/50 and donations, the steak night brought in a total amount of $2343.00, all of which was donated to STARS.
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The STARS Air Ambulance in flight.