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Sentara Nightingale Campaign Reaches Fundraising Goal 

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‘Saving Minutes, Saving Lives’ donors push campaign past $3.5 million
‘Christening’ at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital welcomes new aircraft

'Saving Minutes, Saving Lives' donors push fundraising campaign past goalNorfolk, VA (July 22, 2011) – David Banty, 76, of Capron, Virginia in Southampton County has flown as a patient on the Nightingale Regional Air Ambulance, twice. The first time was in August of 1982, just seven months after the program’s inception, when he nearly drowned on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Last March, he suffered a heart attack at work in Capron and was flown by Nightingale to Sentara Heart Hospital in Norfolk.

“They say things happen in threes,” Banty jokes. “I hope to God I don’t need ‘em again, but I’m sure glad they’re here.”

Banty was among former patients and EMS partners invited to the christening of the new aircraft, a state-of-the-art Eurocopter EC-145. Mary Blunt, President of Sentara Norfolk General Hospital where Nightingale is based, smashed a bottle of sparkling cider on a skid to welcome the new aircraft, which replaces a 25 year-old Eurocopter BK-117.

The christening ceremony also marks the success of the ‘Saving Minutes, Saving Lives’ fundraising campaign conducted by the Sentara Health Foundation.

The figure, as of July 22, was $3,502,480 with additional dollars still coming in. A case in point was Henry Johnson of Franklin, Virginia, who is also a two-time Nightingale patient.

“I gave them a personal check for $1,000,” Johnson said. “I challenge anyone who’s had a loved one on Nightingale to donate to the campaign.”

Johnson suffered a major heart attack at Southampton Memorial Hospital in 2006 and Nightingale flew him to Sentara Heart Hospital in 18 minutes during morning traffic. In 2009, a pickup truck collided with Johnson’s motorcycle in Grandy, North Carolina on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and again, Nightingale flew him to the Level I trauma center at Sentara Norfolk General.

Major Donors helped propel the campaign
The public appeal announced in June followed a two-year effort by the Sentara Health Foundation to engage area governments, corporations, foundations, Sentara employees and community residents to help raise $3.5 million of the $7.2 million purchase cost.

“We especially hoped the communities that use Nightingale the most would recognize the value of the program,” says Meril Amdursky, Director of the Sentara Health Foundation. “They really came through for us and we appreciate their generosity in supporting our campaign.”

Some of the major gift donors include:
• Towne Bank Foundation
• Currituck County, North Carolina
• Pasquotank and Camden Counties, NC Emergency Medical Services
• City of Hampton
• City of Newport News
• City of Chesapeake
• Sun Trust Bank
• Beazley Foundation
• Birdsong Corporation
• Newport News Shipbuilding
• Obici Healthcare Foundation

Why Nightingale is worthy of your financial support
Sentara Healthcare has operated Nightingale for almost 30 years as part of its not-for-profit community mission. The program operates at a deficit of as much as $650,000 per year because Nightingale takes care of every patient 24 hours per day, regardless of health insurance or ability to pay.

Every year, Nightingale touches the lives of an average 700 critically ill and injured patients at accident scenes and outlying community hospitals. When minutes count, Nightingale can change an hour-long ambulance ride to a rapid flight that can mean the difference between life and death.

Related Links:
Sentara Nightingale
Sentara Foundation
Sentara Nightingale on Facebook

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