Elizabeth Thompson

Elizabeth Thompson

Life is not a luxury

Almost six years ago, STARS air ambulance helped save Three Hills-area resident Valina Pope after she was critically injured in a bizarre two-vehicle collision.



Almost six years ago, STARS air ambulance helped save Three Hills-area resident Valina Pope after she was critically injured in a bizarre two-vehicle collision.

On Jan. 15, 2006, Pope was a southbound passenger in a vehicle on Hwy 2 that was struck by a northbound vehicle that had lost control and spun around, crossing the highway at an emergency turn-round between the divided road.

“They happened to cross without going into the ditch and hit us head-on. They didn’t lose speed,” said Pope, 23, who spoke at the launch of the 19th Annual STARS Lottery, held at the lottery prize home in Sylvan Lake on Thursday.

Pope ended up with two collapsed lungs, multiple broken ribs, a broken neck and cracked skull, and she was struck in the face with the gear shift. Her internal injuries included damage to her heart, a ruptured spleen and liver lacerations.

She spent a week in ICU and a month in hospital. It took six months for her to walk again.

Her injuries left her with brain injury and chronic pain.

On the night of the collision, Pope was heading home after going to a movie and doing some shopping with her sister and a friend in Red Deer.

The roads were clear when they arrived in the city, but a thick blanket of snow had fallen by the time they left.

Snow and ice made it hard for ambulances on the road that responded to the crash just north of the Innisfail overpass.

“The snow that night was dreadful. They could take me to Innisfail Hospital, but that was a far as they could take me by road.”

That’s when STARS came into her life.

Pope doesn’t have visual memories of the collision’s aftermath. All she remembers is feeling afraid. But onboard the STARS helicopter she felt like her mother was there beside her. It turned out to be a STARS flight nurse who laid a hand on Pope’s arm to comfort the then-teen.

“They saved my life. There’s no two ways about it. If they had not airlifted me that night, I would be dead,” Pope said.

“I’m never going to move out of Alberta because if I move somewhere else, there won’t be a STARS if I need them.”

STARS Lottery is the largest fundraiser for the air ambulance, which flies an average of four missions a day. In 2011, STARS flew more than 1,500 missions.

STARS Lottery 2012 has 3,200 prizes worth more than $5.2 million, including homes, vehicles, vacations, electronics, cash, furniture, jewelry, luggage and more.

The five grand prizes worth $3.7 million are a truck and fifth wheel, and four furnished show homes — one each in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge and a three-bedroom home worth $905,100 located at 1 Rosewood Rise in Sylvan Lake.

Early bird prizes include $100,000 in cash, a 2012 Mercedes Benz ML350, and a Las Vegas vacation.

The lottery raises $10 million annually to help pay wages, maintenance, fuel, communications, training, insurance and facility rent for the non-profit charitable organization.

Forty-five per cent of 2012 lottery tickets have already been sold.

The early bird draw is March 15, with ticket sales cut off at midnight on Feb. 29. The final draw is April 12 with sales cut off at midnight on March 21.

If tickets sell out early, the final draw will be March 15, pending permission from Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission.

Tickets are $25 each, three for $60, six for $100 and 18 for $250.

Tickets are available at www.starslottery.ca or by calling 1-888-880-0992.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Alberta has made a more detailed framework for those looking to acquire an exemption to the mandatory indoor mask bylaw. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
Alberta changes requirements for mask exemptions

Masks wearing has been recommended for almost a year and provincially mandated… Continue reading

Alberta’a chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday that there are more than 328,000 vaccine appointments booked over the next seven days. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta surpasses 2 million doses administered of COVID-19 vaccine

Red Deer down to 835 active cases of COVID-19

RCMP file photo (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)
RCMP investigating shooting near Maskwacis

Maskwacis and Wetaskiwin RCMP are seeking public assistance after a shooting has… Continue reading

Rode
Smith among impressive group of RDC soccer Queens recruits

There have been a number of cases where younger girls have developed… Continue reading

Bo’s Bar and Grill owner Brennen Wowk said the hospitality industry is looking for more clarity from the province around what conditions must be met to allow for restaurants reopening. (Advocate file photo)
Frustated restaurant owners want to know government’s reopening plan

Restaurant owners feel they are in lockdown limbo

Opinion
Mental health: Gossiping, backbiting and forming factions is unhealthy

We all know of dysfunctional organizations, which can be as troublesome as… Continue reading

Family practice physician Christina Tuomi, D.O., (right) gets Homer's first dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine from Emergency Department nurse Steve Hughes (left) on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020 at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, Alaska. Tuomi has been the hospital's medical lead throughout the pandemic. (Photo courtesy Derotha Ferraro/South Peninsula Hospital)
Alberta physicians: Vaccines are our path forward

As the AMA representatives for Alberta’s family physicians, we were immensely relieved… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Nils Hoglander, right, is checked by Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom during third-period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Thursday, May 13, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, right, drives to the basket against Toronto Raptors center Khem Birch, left, and guard Jalen Harris during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

NFL schedules get off to strong starts with Week 1 twinbills

NFL schedules get off to strong starts with Week 1 twinbills

The Saddledome, home of the Calgary Flames, is shown in Calgary, Thursday, March 12, 2020. The final three games of Canada's Secret Cup women's hockey tournament will be played in Calgary's NHL arena.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Secret Cup women’s tournament final games to be held in Calgary’s Saddledome

Secret Cup women’s tournament final games to be held in Calgary’s Saddledome

FILE - In this Thursday, July 18, 2019 file photo, Ron Francis talks to reporters in Seattle after he was introduced as the first general manager for Seattle's yet-to-be-named NHL hockey expansion team. Four years since George McPhee was a “puppet master” of the NHL leading up to the Vegas expansion draft, general managers approached this trade deadline with Seattle’s upcoming addition to the league in mind. While Kraken GM Ron Francis prepares – and maybe made a handshake deal or two already like McPhee did – Seattle was on his colleagues’ minds.(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Kraken still plan to hire coach before expansion draft

Kraken still plan to hire coach before expansion draft

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney attends a news conference in Calgary on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Simmering internal discontent in his United Conservative caucus has boiled over into an open challenge to his leadership. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Two Alberta UCP members kicked out of caucus after challenging Kenney’s leadership

Two Alberta UCP members kicked out of caucus after challenging Kenney’s leadership

Most Read