A BOATING accident on Lake Macquarie 18 years ago sparked one of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service's longest and most valued friendships.
Lili le Mesurier was not quite two years old when the keel of a boat fell and pinned her beneath it at her uncle's birthday party.
Her mother, Simone, remembers the moment vividly.
"Only her tiny feet were in sight," Ms le Mesurier said. "My brother and his friends lifted the weight off her."
The rescue helicopter took Lili to hospital, reviving her three times. "She wouldn't have survived the trip in the ambulance," her mother said.
Lili was in a coma for seven days and her family was facing a decision about life support when she woke up.
"These people had such an impact on our lives," Ms le Mesurier said. "They do such a fantastic job."
This was the catalyst for Ms le Mesurier founding a local chapter of the Angel II Volunteer Support Group, of which she was a member for four years. Its first event raised $18,000.
Ms le Mesurier was a member of the Westpac Chopper Champs and has volunteered at the Newcastle Annual Ball.
Now working in the hospitality industry, she is planning a pop-up restaurant event in July with a portion of the ticket to be donated to the service.