Fourteen years ago, a horrific highway accident changed the course of 21-year-old Amanda Legault's life.
The traumatic injuries Legault suffered were critical and needed a fast response.
It was that spring, significant flooding in Southern Manitoba prompted the province to bring a STARS helicopter and crew from Alberta to assist with flood-related emergencies. The air ambulance and its crew were put into action a number of times while in Manitoba that spring, including the mission that is greatly attributed to saving Amanda Legault's life in 2011.
"So, STARS was there in just a matter of minutes, when with the spring flooding would have taken an ambulance, probably two or three hours to get me to the Health Sciences (Centre in Winnipeg)."
Legault says having STARS be there to respond so fast definitely is what initially saved her life.
"I was in the ICU for a while after that...and then had to learn how to, like, be human again with rehab."
"The entire experience just reminds me of how important it is to not take life for granted, like anything can happen to anyone at any time," said Legault. "I was definitely not expecting to T-bone a truck...It hits me often out of nowhere, like how blessed I am and how fortunate I am to have had STARS around when they weren't even permanently here at that point in time."
Legault says people always think it won't be them that will need STARS. But, she says anyone could at any time, adding it's important to "keep those STARS in the sky. STARS saves lives. It could save your life, it could save a loved one's life. They are incredibly important. We need them."
"They are angels," exclaimed Legault. "I have met many, many STARS people since then, and the ones who actually helped me that day, they are not out here in Manitoba. They were in Alberta. So I met them via a video call. One of the pilots has passed since then. God bless him (said with a calm pause). And, I haven't actually met any of them in person. But, just that video call was precious. And then since then, as I said, I've met many of them in person, and they're just all angels and I love them so much."
Legault's recovery from her accident included learning how to walk and talk again. Four years after the accident, Legaut was able to run a 1/2 marathon. "Again, only because STARS saved my life initially."
Also following her accident, Legault went to college, wrote a book, and had another baby. "I got married at the beginning of all of that. So, yeah. I have been just really fortunate to have a really, really good life since then."
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