In 2015 I went to the 1st Westpac Rescue Helicopter Reunion.

It’s something I’ve dreamed about for many years.

I had a great chat with Winnie one of their crewmen.

Winnie and I

Winnie and I

He wasn’t on board in 2003 when I was airlifted to hospital.

His buddy Herby was though, so he phoned him for me.

Herby couldn’t remember who else was on my crew, and they didn’t have the crew names recorded on their computer, but are investigating for me.


It was an honour to meet people that do such a courageous and life-saving job every day.

I loved listening to the patient’s stories, and could relate to the sense of relief they all felt knowing the chopper was taking them away.

Every one of them brought tears to my eyes.

They opened the floor up to all of us, but I didn’t speak.

I did consider it, but sometimes it’s good just to listen.

I did speak with a couple of reporters though to help recognise the amazing work the helicopter rescue teams do.


Speaking with a reporter and photographer from Fairfax Media

Speaking with a reporter and photographer from Fairfax Media


Anna and I with Matty McLean from TV One News

Anna and I with Matty McLean from TV One News

Last month I was so overwhelmed by the gratitude inside me for the first responders that saved me, I posted an open letter of gratitude on my blog.

For me, it was one more step on my journey of healing and wholeness.  As was attending the reunion.

I wrote my open letter with tears streaming down my face and a deep soul drive to thank my rescue team for all they did for me on the day, and for the life I enjoy now.

You can read that blog post here if you like.

I had no idea about the reunion when I wrote it so I was humbled and excited to receive my invite a few weeks later.

Such perfect timing.

What I also find interesting about my experience there is though I didn’t feel stressed in my mind, about half way through the reunion my hands and arms started to hurt where they had been chopped through.

My hands are the barometer of my stress levels.

The more stressed I am the more pain I feel.

It didn’t abate for hours, indicating to me that the reunion was more stressful and taxing on me as a whole than my mind consciously registered.

I have many natural tools I work with to manage the pain, some of which you can read here, but at the time I’m just sat with it and seeing what lessons it had for me.

It showed me I had a little more healing to do around the need to be saved in the first place, which I have always had issues with.  NB: 3 months later and I’ve worked through it.  I feel completely at peace.  Nice to know!  I love how my blog is also a measuring stick from where I’ve been to where I am.

I wrote a blog last year about being my own hero and saving myself, and I am, I do. You can read that one here.

But I spent a lot of my life pretending I didn’t need help from anyone and that I could handle things by myself.

Without the Rescue team I never would have had the opportunity to save myself later.

I never wanted to be, or saw myself as a damsel in distress.

I never wanted to cause others stress, pain or worry.

The idea of a white knight, or red and yellow helicopter, having to swoop down to save me made me feel weak and stupid.

It took me a long time to reconcile having to be saved by the rescue helicopter.  By anyone for that matter.

The pain in my arms that day, or any day, tells me I still have work to do.

But that’s cool.

I love opportunities for healing and growth.

To find out more about the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, or to donate to them click here.