THE last time Gill Isherwood went in a helicopter she was being rescued from Lake Monowai.
Yesterday, she was given the chance to turn her traumatic experience into a positive memory by taking to the skies over Invercargill once again.
This time, she was one of more than 80 attendees at the second annual Southland Race4Life Track Day held at Teretonga Park.
The event, which had been running for 13 years, was an opportunity for palliative care patients to enjoy an adrenaline-packed day of activities, from racing in Ferraris to riding in a helicopter.
“About three years ago I had an accident. I couldn’t see anything from the helicopter that time because they were pumping me full of morphine. But today was lovely,” Ms Isherwood said.
Although she was a little “apprehensive” about getting in the helicopter again, her nerves were put at ease as soon as she was up in the air.
“Alan [her friend] told me I had to go up in the front seat this time so I did.
“I didn’t realise there was so much water around Invercargill, it was great to see it all from up high.”
HeliOtago pilot Kevin Gale spent the day showing groups a bird’s-eye-view of the city across the ocean and over the racetrack while high-performance cars, driven by patients, sped below.
Ms Isherwood said it was a “real eye-opener” and she thoroughly enjoyed chatting with the pilot.