For the Kolebabas, STARS is part of the family. From the time Leo became so critically ill he needed urgent care, to a reunion at the base, STARS is never far from their thoughts.

At 11-weeks old, a very ill Leo Kolebaba was taken to hospital in Lethbridge. His parents were in a complete panic not knowing what was going on. His oxygen level was low and he was struggling to breathe. Initially the hospital staff told the family a ground ambulance would be transferring Leo to Calgary, then there was talk of using an airplane, and finally it was decided that STARS was needed.

“All of a sudden, STARS came down the hallway and the moment the crew set hands on Leo, I knew he would survive,” said Leo’s mom, Mandy Dececco-Kolebaba.

The STARS air medical crew kept their word and provided Leo’s parents with updates, even during the flight, and let them know when they arrived at Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Leo was in the hospital for the next two weeks, diagnosed with pneumonia and bronchitis. He has since made a full recovery.

“As a family, we’ve made it our mission to make STARS our charity of choice,” said Mandy. Leo’s older brother, Jack, has donated $245 in birthday money to STARS.

“We are thankful for everyone who works to ensure STARS can save lives,” said Mandy. “STARS has made such an impact in our life. I get chills every time I hear that helicopter over our house because I know they are saving someone else’s life.”

Meet more of our VIPS