Chopper rescues women after severe reaction to medication

Chopper rescues women after severe reaction to medication

Jen Long found herself in a frightening situation when she suffered a severe reaction to medication.

Living very remotely, immediate assistance was critical.

“My husband Roy and I live in very rural Waikato, north of Raglan Harbour,” said Jen.

“We are very keen motorcyclists, and on a gorgeous sunny day we had an awesome adventure ride around a lot of gravel roads between home and Port Waikato.

“Hoping for a good night’s sleep at the end of the day, I took my prescribed anti-inflammatory tablet for an old shoulder injury. I’ve used this medication for about three years.”

An hour later, Jen was suddenly aware of itching in her hands and feet. Suspecting the medication as the culprit, she immediately grabbed the pamphlet and read the reaction symptoms, which were getting worse by the minute.

Jen’s husband dialed 111. The First Responders were alerted, (all volunteers in their area), as was the ambulance from Huntly.

“By now I was having trouble breathing, starting to have a restriction round my throat and my body was starting to shake involuntarily, making it difficult to breathe,” she said.

The ambulance crew arrived, quickly assessed her and after giving Jen Antihistamine and Prednisone, called for the dispatch of the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter to undertake a 10-minute flight to hospital, eliminating the prospect of over an hour’s trip in the ambulance.

“I am so grateful for that decision to hand me over to the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter,” said Jen.

“The helicopter team kept a close eye on me. By the time I got to Waikato Hospital the medication given by medics was taking affect. I was kept in overnight for observation. It turns out I have developed an allergy to Sulphur - a component in Celebrex.”

“I have now have become a Friend of the Rescue Helicopter. I never thought I would need their services and I am so grateful they came to help me.”

“My heartfelt thanks to all involved in saving my life.”

2018 Westpac Chopper Appeal launch – May 1, 2018

Running throughout May, the Westpac Chopper Appeal is supported by fundraising activities in schools and community centres, as well as a nationwide street appeal on Friday May 18.

The Chopper Appeal aims to raise funds and continued awareness for the rescue helicopter services with all donations going back to the region they are collected from.

More than 7000 missions were undertaken by local rescue helicopters around the country last year.

Westpac funds the marketing and administration costs of the Appeal, and distributes all of the funds raised back to donors’ local rescue helicopter trust.

Go to for more information and to donate.

Ways you can donate this Chopper Appeal:

• at any Westpac Branch
• online at
• text your postcode to 2449 to make a $3 donation.*

Westpac is the principal sponsor of the Auckland, Waikato, Wellington and Canterbury Westpac rescue helicopters.

The annual Westpac Chopper Appeal helps raise funds for all regional rescue helicopter services around New Zealand.

*For text donations, additional network charges may apply. 100% of your donation goes to your local chopper. Terms and conditions apply, to view please visit