Volunteering for Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance is Ruth Wilkinson’s way of thanking the charity for air lifting her to the urgent medical treatment she needed after she was seriously injured in a car crash.
It took her six months to recover from the fractures she sustained in her skull, jaw and collar bone but as soon as she was well enough she started raising funds for and awareness of the charity in and around Leicestershire.
Ruth (36) has a busy career as a Probation Officer but she still finds time to give talks, attend cheque presentations and help at air ambulance events.
In recognition of her ten years commitment to volunteering she was chosen to represent the charity at a Buckingham Palace garden party in May 2018.
“Volunteering is my way of saying thank you. It is something I can do to repay the charity for what they did for me. I wanted to raise awareness of the services provided by the air ambulance and how it is there for everybody. Without it I might not have made a full recovery,” she says.
Ruth was airlifted to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham after the car she was driving was involved in a collision in Desford during the morning rush hour when she was on her way to work in Leicester.
As she was approaching a junction a car pulled out and hit her vehicle on the passenger side. This caused her car to spin and hit a lorry.
Her head went through the car window and hit the lorry with such force that the steps into the driver’s cab fell off.
Ruth was knocked unconscious and had to be cut out of her car. As well as the multiple fractures she sustained to her head, jaw and collarbone, she had cuts on her face and was bleeding from her left ear.
Due to the serious nature of her injuries it was crucial she was treated as soon as possible. Her head injuries were a worry and there was concern about swelling on her brain due to the fractures in her skull.
Ruth suffered Post Traumatic Amnesia following the accident and has lost six days memory of the day of the accident and the following five days.
“What I know about it I have been told by other people. The whole thing is a story to me,” she says.
When she was first taken to hospital she had an operation to insert a plate in her jaw but this didn’t hold so she was readmitted and her teeth were wired together for seven weeks, during which time she was on a liquid only diet.
After numerous outpatient appointments and assessments over 12 months, Ruth made a full recovery. However, to this day, she has scars on her face and shoulder and a numbness to the right side of her bottom lip.
“My personal experience means that the air ambulance charity is very close to my heart. Without it who knows what state I would be in and what sort of life I would now be living,” she says.
Ruth recommends volunteering with the local air ambulance: “I get to attend events that I would never normally go to and meet different people. It is very interesting,” she says.