LONG WALK AHEAD: Katie Martin with Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter general manager Kris Beavis and sponsor representative Brant Wood, of Woollam Constructions. Also pictured are “mascots” Charity and Strider.
LONG WALK AHEAD: Katie Martin with Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter general manager Kris Beavis and sponsor representative Brant Wood, of Woollam Constructions. Also pictured are “mascots” Charity and Strider. Contributed

Aim to raise, 100,000 for rescue chopper

IT WAS judged the 2012 Community Event of the Year in this year's Byron Shire Australia Day awards and the Ballina to Byron Bay Charity Walk will be back bigger and better in 2013.

Last year 500 people took part in the event, which raised $40,000 for the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.

This year the walk will be capped at 1000 entrants and organisers hope to raise up to $100,000.

One person who is backing up is Katie Martin, of Wollongbar, who finished last in the event in 2012.

But she could not have been happier - just finishing was an achievement for Katie, who is one of thousands to have benefited from the helicopter's lifesaving work.

Katie was in a car accident in 2001 at Alstonville. She was taken to Lismore Base Hospital, but the severity of her injuries meant she had to be rushed by the helicopter to hospital in Brisbane.

She had severe head injuries and "heaps" of other injuries.

"I may not be here if it was not for the helicopter," Katie said at Boulder Beach at the launch of this year's event.

Of the prospect of taking part in last year's walk and raising funds for the service, she said: "I just had to do it."

And she is keen to take part again in this year's coastal walk, which will be held on Sunday, May 19, starting at 7am from Missingham Park, Ballina.

Participants can choose to walk 12km to Lennox Head, 25km to Broken Head or 37km to Byron.

The walk is open to teams of four and individuals. For cost details and how to enter, visit the website.



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