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Rescued and cared for ‘Just like Bob the Builder’

By Holly Shan.

Lizzie Biec has known the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter for a long time. She would regularly donate to them many times before she retired. But she never imagined one day she would be carried in one of these helicopters. Even when James, the pilot, arrived at their beach house in Matarangi and introduced himself, and to whom she unintentionally replied, “Just like Bob the Builder,” Lizzie still didn’t realise fully why there was a helicopter pilot at her home.

Lizzie enjoyed using her e-Scootle as a means of transportation after receiving it from her partner John as a Christmas gift a year earlier. She didn't bother buying a helmet because she thought she was always careful, never going faster than 15km/h and always riding on the footpath. She would normally get off and walk on the grass if there was no paved footpath. However, there should always be exceptions to the rule.

On 27 December last year, Lizzie and John were on their way home after shopping and visiting friends, when a bus, parked on the footpath, blocked their way. Lizzie usually would have hopped off her scooter and walked on the grass, but there was some dirt by the bus, so she decided to ride over it on her scooter, thinking that the ground looked flat and safe. Unfortunately, there was a rabbit hole just under the surface, and her wheel went straight into it, catapulting her over. Lizzie recalls, “Unfortunately, I smacked my head on the concrete footpath.”

When Lizzie and John arrived home, Lizzie found she “couldn't string two words together and just wanted to sleep.” She knew immediately that something was wrong. John contacted the Mercury Bay Medical Centre, which they had heard about on the radio as a place to call for emergencies. “John spoke to a lovely lady, who dispatched the helicopter when she realised what had happened.” A volunteer fireman was tasked with clearing people from the park next to Lizzie's house to enable the helicopter to land close by and transport Lizzie as quickly as possible to North Shore Hospital in Auckland.

“They've come to look after you,” John told Lizzie when the team arrived. That's what Lizzie sensed in their words and actions. “I think there were three of them. One took my blood pressure, held my hand, and said, ‘It's ok, we'll be here for you. What's going on?’ At the time, I was really anxious and nervous. I didn't know what was happening to me. My brain wasn't working properly. So their assistance was quite comforting for me, and I felt safe. I knew that these guys had my back and that, whatever happened, I would be okay.” (Just like Bob the Builder).

There was no brain bleed, which was what they were most worried about. However, Lizzie had a severe concussion, and even after a four-month recovery, things are not yet right. “If I go out and there's a crowd or much noise, I still get quite anxious and can't talk properly. I have to return home and lie down.” But nothing could stop the grateful couple from buying their Classic Car Lottery ticket. Lizzie also posted a photo on her Facebook wearing the ARHT (Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust) hat, encouraging some of her friends to buy a lottery ticket too. “If you can, please buy a ticket in their latest lottery. They do such a vital lifesaving job,” Lizzie wrote above her photo.

Lizzie Biec “so appreciative of Westpac Helicopter Trust for their ongoing support since my accident. if you can please buy a ticket in their latest lottery. they do such a vital life-saving job.”

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