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Carilion Rotor Run raises awareness about local emergency services

Carilion Clinic Life-Guard 5K Rotor Run brings hundreds out for a good cause

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ROANOKE – Runners across the Star City will be lacing up their shoes for the Carilion Clinic Life-Guard 5K Rotor Run on Saturday. This is the third year for the event sponsored by Carilion Clinic Life-Guard.

The run promotes health and wellness for people in the Roanoke Valley, but also raises awareness about the hospital's emergency services.

It's been more than 36 years since the first helicopter was put into use at Carilion. Over the past three decades, that program has expanded and now consists of three bases and three helicopters.

Each helicopter team has a pilot, flight nurses and paramedics who can travel hundreds of miles to reach patients who are in critical condition.

"We travel to West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina," explains Nick Mattheisen, the Business Development Manager for Carilion Clinic patient transport. "We've taken patients up to Maryland before. We'll go as far as we need to and help our patients out. We find the best solution for them."

The helicopters-- one stationed in Roanoke, one in Radford and one in Lexington-- carry an average of 20 patients in each 24-hour period depending on the weather. That adds up to more than 1,500 patients a year. They're able to reach patients quicker, especially in some of the hard to-reach regions of Southwest Virginia.

"It's instrumental to providing care to rural communities through Southwest Virginia," says Mattheisen. "We can get across mountain ranges and down into fields faster than if the patient had to go by ground into a local hospital and be transported by ground the whole way. Minutes matter, especially for major, critical incidents."

After the run, one of the Life-Guard helicopters will be on display as well as local volunteer fire-EMS vehicles. It's a chance for the public to learn about the services, pilots, flight paramedics and nurses.

The run begins at 8 a.m. Saturday. For more information and details on signing up, click here.