Key Relationships Managers, Karen O’Sullivan and Lorraine Toner, Advanced Paramedic Paul Traynor, CEO Micheal Sheridan, Advanced Paramedic James Ward and Chief Pilot Donnagh Verling at t the Irish Community Air Ambulance base in Rathcoole.Photo: Brian Lougheed

Air ambulance organise Portuguese fundraiser

Do you prefer to bike or hike?

That’s the question you’ll need to ask yourself as the Irish Community Air Ambulance has launched its first overseas fundraising event and is calling on supporters to do just that along the Portuguese Camino.

Participants on the Portuguese Camino will have the option of choosing a 338km cycle or completing a walk of approximately 100km in length. Each group will be accompanied by a tour guide and a representative from the Irish Community Air Ambulance. The trip is due to take place from 23-30 April.

CEO of the Irish Community Air Ambulance, Micheál Sheridan said two people whose lives have been touched by the service have already signed up.

He added: “Our former patients and their families are among our greatest supporters. We get a great boost meeting those we have helped over the last two years. Our aim is to bring hope to people when they need it most, ensuring that they can get to the hospital that best suits their life saving needs as quickly as possible.

“However, we need the public’s support to be able to do that. We hope that this event will raise more than €50,000 which will fund at least 15 of our future missions.”

The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) is Ireland’s only charity-funded air ambulance and is on track to complete more than 500 taskings this year. Each mission costs an average of €3,500, all of which has to be raised or donated.

The HEMS Air Ambulance works in partnership with the National Ambulance Service and is ready to respond to serious incidents and medical emergencies from its base in Rathcoole in North Cork seven days a week.

Each participant is asked to raise a minimum of €2,250 which includes return flights, transfers, 7 days accommodation as well as breakfast and dinner each day.

The walking group will begin in Oia and walk to Santiago de Compostela along the coast around to the Vigo estuary. Walkers will get the opportunity to stay in the beautiful coastal cities of Baiona and Vigo before rejoining the traditional Camino Portuguese from Redondela to Santiago de Compostela.

The cycling group will begin their route from Aveiro in Portugal, following the road less travelled to Santiago de Compostela. Cycling along some of the most amazing sandy beaches of North Portugal and Spain, such as those near Povoa de Varzim. Cyclists will be able to go for a dip in the clear waters of the Vigo estuary and cross one of the most cultural and historic areas of Portugal and Spain with medieval Camino towns like Pontevedra.

For more information or to sign up, email