Addison Mortimore, 9, uses his birthday to raise money for the RACQ CQ Rescue Helicopter Service

For many children, birthdays are all about one thing: gifts.

But for nine-year-old Addison Mortimore from Mackay, it’s a chance to do something to help others.

For the past four years, she has asked people to donate money to her local rescue helicopter service.

Her mother Christine said the idea came about after her daughter announced she didn’t want “stuff”.

“It started when she was being prepped and we were coming home from a party and she announced she didn’t want a party for her birthday,” Ms Mortimore said.

“When I asked her why, she said there was so much stuff and ‘I don’t need all that stuff.'”

Addison said she wanted to donate to CQ Rescue because the service helped someone she knew.

“One of my friend’s fathers had an accident in the mines and the helicopter came to pick him up,” she said.

“It’s more important to me.”

Addison loves going to the shed to deposit her money.(Provided: RACQ CQ Rescue)

‘It’s incredible’

Over the past four years, Addison has raised over $800 for CQ Rescue.

His selflessness and concern for the community amazed the crew and staff.

A young girl in a red and green school uniform sitting on the floor holding a wooden box with a fabric badge.
The CQ Rescue Pilot Uniform Badge is kept in a special box.(Provided: Christine Mortimore)

“It’s truly inspiring that someone so young has such regard for their community,” said fundraising coordinator Zenta Martin-Szpyt.

“I cried – it’s unbelievable that she did something like that.

“I never would have thought that when I was younger. I was too selfish!”

Ms Martin-Szpyt said the pilots and other crew members were delighted to meet Addison.

“[Pilot] Owen was so amazed by what she did that he ripped the patches off her uniform,” she said.

“It rarely happens, but he was amazed by his efforts.”

Addison’s mother, Christine, said the patches are now her daughter’s most prized possession.

She said Addison was “obsessed” with the rescue helicopter.

“Now if she hears a helicopter, she goes out to see if it’s the rescue helicopter,” she said.

“She loves it and they are her friends.”

An aviator overlooks a beautiful tropical sea from a helicopter.
CQ Rescue depends in part on community donations and sponsorship.(Provided: RACQ CQ Rescue)

Rising fees

CQ Rescue said donations like Addison’s are crucial to keeping the community-funded service in the air.

Annual operating costs are now over $10 million, half of which comes from sponsorships and fundraising.

Costs are expected to increase as fuel prices rise with demand for the service.

Last year, the service logged more than 1,300 flight hours and participated in 704 jobs, including a record number of traffic accidents.

Ms Martin-Szpyt said the service was appreciated by the community.

“The costs of running the helicopters, paying the crew, our costs are astronomical,” she said.

“People understand the value of our service and sometimes we’re the only way to get people out of the situation they’re in.”

A young girl wearing yellow sunglasses standing in a rescue helicopter with the side door open.
Addison might just have what it takes to be a rescue pilot, according to his mother.(Provided: RACQ CQ Rescue)

Walking into the shed to drop off the money she has collected is one of the highlights of Addison’s year and a huge source of pride for her mother.

“It makes me quite proud,” Ms Mortimore said.

“She’s a smart girl and whatever she decides she will do.”

The tours also give Addison a glimpse into her dream career.

“She said the other day, ‘When I grow up, maybe I’ll work on the rescue helicopter,'” Ms Mortimore said.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if she did.”