5th Aviation Regiment’s Exercise Care Bear launch gave young patients a chance to see Townsville from above.

Exercise Care Bear is the 5th Aviation Regiment’s foremost community engagement activity in support of the Townsville University Hospital, specifically Brighter Lives, which provides dedicated care and support of ill children and their families in the Townsville region.

5th Aviation Regiment landed at the James Cook University oval in a Leonardo AW139 helicopter, leased from Helicorp, where patients and families from Townsville University Hospital were treated to the beautiful sights. 

Corporal Matthew Nebauer said it was a great opportunity to allow patients and their families the joy of seeing Townsville from above. 

“Some of these families have only been in a helicopter for emergencies, so it’s such a pleasure to see the smiles on the patient’s faces,” Corporal Nebauer said.

“One little girl was so excited she was jumping up and down, and that was enough to say it was worth the visit.

“Last year we landed so the kids could explore the helicopter on the ground, but this year we were pleased to offer flights for these patients and their loved ones.” 

5th Aviation Regiment will come back again for more hospital visits in the coming months as Exercise Care Bear continues.

Families travel from far and wide to receive care from the Townsville University Hospital; one family lives over seven hours away.

Brighter Lives Chief Executive Officer Tanya Busoli said it was a once in a lifetime opportunity for some of these children.

“These families aren’t having the best of times with their loved ones being in hospital, and allowing these patients to come and actually fly over Townsville and experience flying in a helicopter is something they will never forget,” Tanya Busoli said.

“There is a family from Viola Station in Julia Creek who have been receiving care for little Olivia since her birth and she has only known flights in helicopters for emergencies. 

“This will give her and her family happy memories of flying in a helicopter.”

Brighter Lives Townsville Hospital Foundation is the official charity of the Townsville Hospital and Health Service. To donate, visit: brighterlives.org.au

Australian Army Aircrewman Corporal Matthew Nebauer escorts community members from a Helicorp-leased Leonardo AW139 helicopter. Photo: Captain Carolyn Barnett