With an average of 10 missions per day in Western Canada, STARS brings life-saving and critical care to rural communities.  

As the STARS radiothon continues through Wednesday, April 10, four Very Important Patients (VIPs) share their stories about what STARS means to them.  

VIP Troy Duncan 

Troy Duncan

STARS assisted Troy Duncan after an accident at a coal mine in Estevan in June 2021. 

A 175-pound steel tire flange that he was cleaning fell into the back of his head, causing multiple fractures in his skull and jaw.  

“The last thing that went through my mind is ‘this is going to hurt’,” said Duncan. 

He was disoriented and alone when he woke up. “In front of me was just bloody everywhere, and I really didn’t know what was going on.” 

He wasn’t able to find where his phone was, but luckily, he received a call from the foreman asking about a jack, and the foreman realized something was wrong with Duncan’s speech and sent out two mechanics to check on him. 

Though he’d gotten himself free of the flange and was taken to the hospital in Estevan, his head injuries meant a call was made to STARS.  

He said that he learned later that he came within half an inch of an injury to the side of his neck that would have severed his main artery and caused him to bleed out.  

“I can honestly say, I really came home and had a different appreciation for things. I didn’t think I was that close to death.” 

He is thankful for the time that he gets to spend with his grandchildren and encourages people to donate to STARS. 

“It saves lives – it gets people to where they need to be in a timely manner so we can make sure they’re looked after.” 

VIP Easton Daae 

Easton Daae

STARS was called for 7-year-old Easton Daae after a 1300-pound sprayer tire crushed him on the concrete floor of his grandparents’ shop on their farm.  

Daae and his cousin were playing in the shop at the time, unaware that the sprayer’s tires were propped up and awaiting transport. One of the tires ended up rolling onto Daae, breaking his pelvis, jaw, and skull.  

“It was going so fast that I couldn’t move or anything, so I couldn’t really do anything. It just went black for a couple of seconds, and then I woke up, and it was me under the tire,” said Daae. 

“I could remember feeling my nose crushed, my head crushed, my back kind of in the rim of the tire.” 

His uncles got him out from under the tire and a call was made to EMS, who called STARS. 

The province’s two helicopters were attending other missions, so Daae was initially taken to the local hospital. Doctors requested that STARS should be called based on potential injuries to Daae’s brain. 

His mother, Lauren, spoke about STARS. “I had seen the STARS helicopter in the sky from a distance a number of times before this. But in that moment, I just couldn’t imagine that we were in need of it.” 

“It’s really hard to wrap your head around the fact that your child is in a life-threatening position, but just hearing that help was on the way was definitely a comfort while we were wrestling with that reality,” she added.  

Daae’s parents, Dan and Lauren, referred to the STARS crew as superheroes for their assistance. Daae left the hospital in Regina after eight days and is back to being active.  

“STARS will always have a special place in our hearts, because they were really there for us on possibly the hardest day of our lives,” said Lauren Daae.  


VIP Ryan Straschnitski 

Ryan Straschnitski

STARS was deployed as part of the emergency response to the April 6, 2018, crash between the Humboldt Broncos hockey bus and a semi. 

Hockey player Ryan Straschnitzki was injured in the crash. “I was in a vulnerable position where I couldn’t move. I knew that I had a spinal cord injury.” 

He was taken on a STARS helicopter, and the crew assessed his condition while they were in the air, conveying that needed information to the hospital so they were prepared for surgery when he landed.  

While Straschnitzki lost the use of his legs in the crash, he’s aiming to become a Paralympian one day, and bring attention to the world of adaptive sports.  

“From my experience, having [STARS] in Saskatchewan and small, unknown areas is super important, because it helps save many lives.” 

VIP Carter Yunick 

Carter Yunick

Carter Yunick needed emergency surgery on an open fracture on his right arm near his wrist after being injured in a motocross race. 

Yunick hit a rut on the track and was thrown from his bike. “Due to the injury itself and the high risk of infection, it was urgent that he have surgery pretty much immediately. Our local hospital does not have the orthopedic surgery facility that was required to do the surgery,” explained his mother, Tenille. 

“I was in shock, and I knew there was nothing I could do myself,” she added.  

Tenille Yunick was on the flight with her son and commended the crew of the flight for comforting her son during the flight. “It really just reassured me.” 

Both Carter Yunick and his mom encourage people to donate to STARS and thank those who have donated in the past and made his care possible.  


Donations raised through the Critical Care on the Air Radiothon fund the continued operation of STARS in Saskatchewan, including wages and training for crews, fuel and maintenance for helicopters, and medical supplies and equipment.  

STARS gets $10 million per year in funding from the Government of Saskatchewan and they look to raise an additional $10 million per year through fundraising.  

STARS flew 1,018 missions in Saskatchewan during their last fiscal year and has flown 10,000 missions in Saskatchewan since the Saskatoon and Regina bases opened in 2012.  

You can donate online or call the Viterra Lifeline at 1-877-50-STARS (1-877-507-8277). 

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