Effie Cadwallader, who volunteers for the Welsh Ambulance Service says she’s been ‘humbled by the kind and generous response.’ But she still needs to raise another £8,000 to cover the cost of buying, equipping and running a rapid response vehicle to deal with 999 alerts.
Unpaid Community First Responders are given specialist training and supplied with medical essentials including oxygen and bandages to handle all kinds of emergencies including strokes, heart attacks and domestic injuries, but they still have to self-fund their own transport, uniforms, kit bag and equipment such as a defibrillator.
Effie answered more than 3,000 calls during 15 years of volunteering with a neighbouring ambulance service, using a designated car which was sponsored by local businesses and community donations.
Now, she needs replacement car to continue her work as part of the Wrexham Rural Frst Responders’ group which covers some of the same area, including her home village of St Martins, as well as surrounding communities extending to Chirk, Langollen, the Ceiriog Valley, Overton, Penley, Bettisfield and the outskirts of Ellesmere.
Since launching her £10,000 appeal at the end of August, Effie has received doations from well-wishers ranging from £5 to £400. She aims to purchase a replacement car by Christmas and is hoping a local car dealership will come forward to help with sponsorship.
Among the latest donors are members of Ellesmere Probus Club -- a social group for retired business people – which has chipped in £100. Its president, Jeremy Stretton, said: “Effie is well-known in the local community for her hard work and dedication.
She devotes many hours to being a First Responder and it is an understatement to say that she’s a real life-saver. More often than not, she is first on the scene of a medical emergency, providing crucial help until a professional ambulance crew arrives. I hope that other groups similar to ours will support this appeal.”
Effie said she had been heartened by the response so far.
“I want to say a huge thank you everyone who has made a donation," she said.
"Every penny counts and I never cease to be amazed by the generosity of local communities in supporting First Responders. It’s a strange feeling to be asking people to give money towards buying something that everyone hopes will never be found parked outside their own front door, but this is a vital life-saving service and you never know when you might need it.”
Her online GoFundMe page will remain open until the end of October and she is also investigating other sources of funding. In addition to the purchase price, an extra £1,000 must be found to cover the cost of livery for the car, plus £1,000 a year for running costs, including the road fund licence, insurance, servicing and MOT.
Donations can be made via gofundme.com/f/effies-community-first-responder-car
For information about donating by cheque or BACs, contact Effie at firstname.lastname@example.org.