WHEN Rohan Playford misjudged a corner and steered his motorbike into a head-on collision with a car, he became the Snowy Hydro SouthCare helicopter’s 1112th rescue mission.
Nearly 12 years and roughly 4400 rescues later, Mr Playford and six other riders set off from the Griffith Exies on Monday morning on a seven-day charity bike ride to Canberra in a bid to raise awareness and funds for the aero-medical service.
Mr Playford was convinced he would have died on the road if not for the swift response of the helicopter.
“I broke my arms, pelvis, leg, tore an artery and had severe internal bleeding and I was a couple of hours drive from the nearest hospital,” Mr Playford said.
“Thanks to the helicopter it was only an hour between when I had the accident to when I was in hospital – the service undoubtedly saved my life.
“You know the service is there, but it’s in the background and you have no idea how vital the service is until it affects you, like you don’t realise the importance of firefighters until you have a house fire.”
Mr Playford said he had been organising the Back2Base bike ride since he had the idea a year ago.
“If I was a millionaire I could donate plenty of cash and feel as if I had made a difference, but I could afford to give my time at various points,” he said.
“It’s not untrue to say I’m only alive with SouthCare’s support and it makes me fell better to contribute.”
SouthCare CEO Owen Finegan was worried about donning the lycra for the journey.
“We’ve been well looked after in Griffith, the local Lions club cooked us dinner last night and Rotary, council and the visitor’s centre all came to our breakfast this morning,” Mr Finegan said.
“Not having done a ride longer than 115 kilometres, I’m not looking forward to more than 100 kilometres per day for the next seven days.”