22 Feb 2024
Jolisa and Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter Crew

In early June Te Puke teenager, Jolisa, and her family were on a dirt biking adventure out the back of the sandy dunes of Glink's Gully beach.

Unfortunately for the adventurous family, their outing turned into a scary turn of events when Jolisa’s dirt bike hit a deep rut, causing Jolisa to fall from her bike, her head taking a heavy blow from the fall to the ground, and her bike landing on top of her.

Her family quickly by her side and checking Jolisa for injuries, initially thought she seemed unharmed, with Jolisa managing to walk up the hill with the help of her concerned family.

But as Jolisa sat and rested at the top of the hill, she noticed a gradual loss of her vision.

“I remember my vision slowly going and the feeling of becoming more and more disorientated. When my sister approached to check on me, I couldn't make out her face or even see my own hands. That's when the realisation struck me - I was truly injured." says Jolisa of her frightening situation.

The family immediately set off their locator beacon which was the only way to get help due to their remote location and lack of cell phone reception.

After an anxious wait, your Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter arrived. Jolisa recalled, "I heard the comforting sound of the rescue helicopter and experienced a mix of relief and a sudden awareness of the severity of my condition.

“Seeing Critical Care Flight Paramedic (CCFP), Diane, filled me with a sense of calm, knowing I was in capable hands and witnessing her genuine concern for my safety. I knew I would be well looked after." says Jolisa.

Since the hill's rugged terrain prevented a safe landing of your Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter, Jolisa was skillfully winched from where she sat and transported to Whangārei hospital. The usual one-hour drive along winding roads from Glinks Gully Beach, reduced to a quick 20-minute helicopter flight and with on-board emergency critical care, meant Jolisa arrived at the hospital with treatment for her injuries underway.

Once at Whangārei hospital, Jolisa neck was immobilsed, doctors concerned about potential neck or spinal injuries. She underwent a thorough CT scan, which thankfully revealed no signs of a brain bleed or any other serious injuries.

Although Jolisa's physical wounds have healed, the lingering effects of concussion continue to affect her daily life. Difficulty with memory, schoolwork, and occasional headaches persist.

Grateful for the invaluable support Jolisa has received, she would like to emphasise the importance your Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter plays in everyday kiwi life.

"I am extremely thankful for the rescue helicopter crew that day. Without them, I can't imagine how I would have made it down the hill and out of the sand dunes. I was in no condition to ride or even walk. I look back now, realising how dangerous my situation was.

“I urge everyone to contribute to the rescue helicopter service, you truly never know when you or someone you love will need them. The impact of donations to the service is lifesaving. The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter can reach remote locations inaccessible to traditional ambulances. We would be utterly lost without them" says a grateful Jolisa.