Reaching for the STARS


Leduc AB – This is now the countdown towards a major event organized by “difference-makers”, to benefit a worthwhile cause that has impacted dozens of Albertans over the past 26 years…
On Saturday September 29, the 6th ANNUAL TYSON PARKER COMMITMENT TO LIFE DINNER & FUNDRAISER to benefit STARS will take place at the Leduc Recreation Centre.  Created by the Parker family soon after Tyson’s tragic accident of July 2005, and fueled by a family’s passionate gratitude, this event has raised a milestone amount in support of STARS.  Last year in the fall, a logo of this event was placed on all the STARS choppers to recognize its contribution exceeding $250,000, and this logo is now on the 2013 STARS calendar cover. 
The letters of the Alberta-based STARS mean Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society, a charitable foundation: it is a fleet of helicopters serviced by pilots and medical teams that is entirely supported by corporate partners and private donations. Visiting the website, we are reminded that in 2011, STARS flew 1,655 missions, carrying only critically ill or injured patients. Since 1985, more than 22,000 missions have been carried out. As of this year, STARS proudly lists its Canadian bases: Calgary, Edmonton, Grande-Prairie, Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg.  The Edmonton base is being moved from the soon-to-be defunct Edmonton Municipal Airport to its new location at the Edmonton International Airport. STARS supporters are looking forward to visiting the new base after its official launch sometime in October. 
In 2011 in Leduc, more than 600 people attended the STARS Gala and enjoyed a great dinner with inspiring speakers, live and silent auctions and a dance with a fantastic band. This year, the event’s agenda will be pretty much the same, and the Leduc-based organizing committee have worked tirelessly for one year planning the fundraiser and the speakers’ line-up. 
Tyson Parker, Alea Cox (née Thomas) and Michelle Salt (née Vrolyk), all born and raised in the Leduc region, will be speaking of their personal experiences when as victims of tragic accidents they were all treated by STARS medical teams at their accident site and airlifted to a major hospital for critical attention. Another individual will address the Gala’s crowd: Corinne, Alea’s flight nurse, will add her personal view of her involvement with the STARS medical teams.  
The theme of the Gala is to educate guests on the life-saving value of the STARS service to the Alberta, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg populations, and to express the gratitude of three of our own young people to the Air Service that contributed to saving their lives: it will be a celebration of their lives as well as a collective THANK YOU to the STARS founders and to the many individuals and corporate partners who keep STARS in the air! The Live Auction this year will again see some impressive items, one of them a steer (alive, but in photos only) donated by Curtis and Alea Cox, who felt that it was an appropriate way to contribute. They will feed the steer until spring, when they will deliver it to the winning bidders’ – or the butcher of their choice! 
The Organizing Committee of the Tyson Parker Commitment To Life Dinner and Fundraiser, led by the Parkers and friends (all of them fierce STARS supporters), is overwhelemed with all the Live Auction items that were donated already, and hopes for a few more Silent Auction items.  The Leduc Chamber of Commerce has kindly offered their support this year: so, should you be inspired by this ‘mission’ and decide to offer an auction item, or wish to attend, the $50 tickets (only $340 for a table of 8) are available at the Leduc & District Chamber office (780.986.5454, located North of the Leduc Safeway) or by contacting Janice Parker at 780.986.4507.
Tyson, who reminds us that “in a tragic circumstance, every minute counts!” has created, a website full of photos of the previous five STARS benefits, which have raised to date the amazing sum of $410,394. Held at the Leduc Recreation Centre, with last year’s excellent variety band “Room To Dance” performing, this fundraiser promises to be a premiere event for 2012, one that supports a great cause and that will make each guest proud to have contributed!   
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