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Evelyn’s story – “I want Wellington Free Ambulance to be free for everyone”

Evelyn’s story – “I want Wellington Free Ambulance to be free for everyone”

Evelyn’s story – “I want Wellington Free Ambulance to be free for everyone”

In November 2018, Evelyn was just 5 years old when she took a tumble out of the parked family car and hit her head on the car door. With blood everywhere and a visible, “very open” head wound, mum Mary could see straightaway “it would be a hospital job”. Five years on from her Wellington Free Ambulance experience, Evelyn has become one of our most dedicated community fundraisers, raising vital funds every year to support us.

This is an amazing achievement by itself but even more impressive when Mary explains that after her accident, Evelyn “was so scared of ambulances – sirens gave us all flashbacks at first”. But now “Evelyn has turned her negative feelings into something really positive”.

“Amazing” care

Mum Mary remembers “panicking on the phone” when she made her 111 call. This was quite different to Evelyn, who had gone quiet, leading to fears of a serious head injury. To keep her comfortable, brother Leo fetched Evelyn her favourite toy and blanket. Mary remembers repeatedly saying “hurry up, please come”, while hearing the sirens getting louder.

Once our team arrived, she was struck by how calm the paramedics were and how comfortable they made her, her family and Evelyn feel. She recalls how “they sat down and had a chat with Evelyn” which reassured Mary – “I felt like it wasn’t life and death as they took the time to calmly sit down and talk”.

After the paramedics had a look, they kept Mary informed about what was going to happen next: it was “definitely a stitching up job” and an opportunity to check for a serious head injury. Evelyn was settled into the ambulance with dad and transported to hospital, where she was stitched up and looked after.

Mary has just one word to describe the care Evelyn received from our paramedics: “amazing.” She also recalls the kindness of the paramedics, who told a very worried Leo he “had done a good job” fetching Evelyn’s favourite toy and blanket.

The start of Evelyn’s fundraising journey

After her accident and experience with Wellington Free, Evelyn decided to give back – in her own words, “I wanted to help”. So, in 2019 she started donating to us.

Then she decided she wanted to skate or bike the distance she rode in the ambulance on the day of her accident – a huge 16km! – and to get sponsored for it, which she did for the first time in 2020.

In 2021, Evelyn got her classmates to take part in Onesie Day. She also matched what they donated and did another sponsored ride. Mum Mary explains that she’d “get up and about before school, in the frost, to complete her distance”.

2022 was another sponsored bike ride and Onesie Day at school.

Then this year, 2023, Evelyn heard on the radio about building our new Wairarapa Station. As a Wairarapa resident (Evelyn and her family call Carterton home), she asked if she could do another sponsored ride. But she settled on people, rather than pedal, power – she had the idea to paint and sell rocks within her community (with a little help from nanna!). She’s spent “many hours” crafting her hand-painted rocks – she reckons she’s painted hundreds of them!

Evelyn has a fantastic fundraising goal in mind: she wants to raise $1,000 for the Wairarapa Station build and help keep Wellington Free “free for everyone”, like she experienced.

For mum Mary, the greatest thing is that “after all the heartache and shock, some good has come from it. I’m so proud of her for remaining positive and turning a negative into a positive.” From being scared when she saw or heard an ambulance, now Evelyn “waves and smiles every time she sees one”.

Mary says, “to Wellington Free Ambulance we will forever be grateful” – and we remain grateful for incredible supporters and fundraisers like Evelyn and her family.

If you’d like to support Evelyn and her fundraiser, you can donate to her Givealittle. Or to support us to continue to be there for the Wairarapa community now and in the future, help us build a state-of-the-art ambulance station in Masterton. Donate online at: https://www.buildwairarapastation.org.nz/



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