by: Colleen Mayer, Director of Donor Relations and Development, STARS Manitoba 

The sight of a red STARS helicopter is a familiar one in the skies across Manitoba. It’s a sight that means someone needs urgent critical care on what is likely one of the most challenging days of their life. But it is also a sight that means the most skilled critical care team and Manitoba’s most advanced air ambulance platform are on their way to care for that patient when they need it most. 

STARS was first deployed in Manitoba on a temporary basis in 2009 in response to a government request for assistance during the spring floods that year. After returning for the 2011 flood response, the government of Manitoba determined that there was a need for STARS to have a full-time presence in the province to serve critically ill and injured patients. STARS has been a trusted partner in Manitoba’s health care system ever since and is pleased to be celebrating our 10th anniversary of permanent operations in our province in 2022. 

Since our arrival in Manitoba, STARS has flown over 5000 missions in the province. In the 2021-22 fiscal year alone, we’ve flown well over 700 missions – an average of more than two missions per day – transporting patients in need from community health facilities and accident scenes to trauma centres in Winnipeg.  

STARS crews are highly trained in advanced critical care with each mission carrying both a flight nurse and a flight paramedic and, if required, a transport physician.  

Each mission also flies with two skilled pilots at the controls of our brand new, state-of-the-art Airbus H145 helicopter. The H145 is the most advanced air ambulance helicopter available in western Canada and began serving Manitoba in November 2021. 

The motivation for STARS’ life-saving mission stems from a core belief that where you live, work, play or travel shouldn’t impact your chance of survival in an emergency. Although STARS does receive some funding from the provincial government, we simply could not carry out our mission without the strong support of our allies and donors across Manitoba – including our incredible allies in the business community. We are grateful for this support and truly believe that our allies ride along with us on every mission. 

The past ten years have seen enormous growth at STARS in Manitoba. From the establishment of our permanent base in the province, to patient care innovations such as ultrasound and blood on board, to the introduction of our new H145 helicopter, STARS has been committed to caring for Manitobans and the communities they love. And, with the continued support of allies like you across the province, we look forward to the next 10 years and beyond providing critical care to Manitobans when and where they need it most.