It’s been 16 years since STARS carried Chelsey Karakochuk, but she still expresses her gratitude whenever the opportunity arises.

“I never get tired of telling the story of how STARS saved my life,” says Chelsey, who was eight years old when she and her parents were involved in a car crash. The family was travelling from Alberta to Saskatchewan when their vehicle collided with another. Young Chelsey was tossed from the car and became tangled in a barbed wire fence 10 metres away from the vehicle. That’s where her father found her.

“When the ambulance arrived I was fading fast, so STARS was called right away,” she said.

Chelsey was flown to an Edmonton hospital to be treated for a broken pelvis, collapsed lung and bruised liver and kidneys. “I don’t think my dad will ever forget that moment,” she said. “That accident is part of who I am today and my scars are a reminder of how precious life is. I want people to know how important STARS is.”

Today, Chelsey is 23 years old and living in Saskatchewan. She works tirelessly as a STARS ambassador and is one of those VIPs (Very Important Patients) who never hesitates to help out. All of us at STARS are grateful for her support. In addition to speaking at events such as barbecues and golf tournaments, Chelsey was the featured guest speaker for the Saskatoon Gala in September, 2013. There was barely a dry eye in the room by the time she finished telling her story and the crowd gave her a standing ovation. In 2012, Chesley lent a hand raising awareness during the first STARS Saskatchewan Lottery launch, which included speaking with numerous media outlets. She is happy to spread the word about STARS throughout Saskatchewan. “Nothing makes me happier than knowing that the big red helicopter is watching over me, my loved ones and the rest of the province of Saskatchewan.”

Meet more of our VIPS