Attendees of the Old Grouch’s 24-Hour Jam in support of STARS were given a powerful reason to continue to support the event and STARS.
This was the fourth year the 24-Hour Jam has supported STARS Air Ambulance and on Saturday, June 5 afternoon Christine McDougald bravely stood up in front of those gathered to support the event to tell her story, a survivor’s story.
In February 2004, McDougald attended the Drumheller Health Centre for a routine procedure following the birth of her daughter. Because of complications she was losing blood faster than doctors could replace it. She learned STARS were called because to travel to Calgary by ground ambulance, she would have never made it to get the help she needed in time to save her life.
“I made sure to tell my husband to make sure our children knew how much I loved them,” she told the crowd gathered who hung on every word she spoke. “My pain was gone and I was at peace, but I was aware that this was it.”
She received emergency surgery, but even after that, she was still losing blood. She received numerous transfusions.
“My family was told all they could do was pray, because there was nothing more that could be done,” she said. “But anyone who knows me, knows I am a fighter, and that’s exactly what I did. I fought my way back to my three children, including 18-day-old Delaney.”
“STARS gave me that chance to fight, and without them I would have died here in Drumheller Hospital.”
This was not the first time Christine has shared her intimate story. She lent her words to a STARS mail-out campaign and it raised in the area of $600,000 for the organization.
This was one of the busiest 24-Hour Jam in recent memory according to organizer Fran Nargang. She said the donation of items to the silent auction were up from previous years, and bidding for the most part was fierce. Entertainer after entertainer made their way onto the stage to lend their talents to the cause and keep toes tapping throughout the night and into the morning.
This was also the first year STARS Air Ambulance came to the event. On Saturday afternoon, they set up tables with merchandise and information on the organization.
Fran said they are on track to at least matching last year’s total, but they might have a boost from the infamous “Skorting of the Garry.”
Fran’s husband Garry agreed to wear a skort for the event to show of his gams and to raise pledges. Supporter anted up $785 to have him wear the shorts/skirt combination. He jovially dawned the outfit as he cooked, plated and served attendees. After the event, he commented he found the outfit kept him cool as he worked, and he had no problems around the deep fryer with his legs bare.