A former Swansea woman, who now lives in America, is aiming to run her third half marathon next year in aid of the ‘flying dragons’ in her home country.

Flight medic Naomi Baksa, originally from Bishopston, is currently training for the half marathon and hopes to raise $2,500 (£1,906) for the Wales Air Ambulance. She originally signed to take part in the Detroit Free Press International Half Marathon 2020 but due to the current pandemic, the race has been postponed until 2021.

Naomi, 38, from Michigan, said: “This year I was supposed to run my second half marathon (in person). The plan was to run for a charity close to my heart, but then a global pandemic occurred. I couldn't think of a better or more worthy cause. Who else would even come to mind except the ‘flying dragons’ in my home country?! I'm honoured to be able to run and raise money for the charity.

“When the race was cancelled, I decided to run the virtual half anyway. Now I’m on track to run the race in 2021 and I would love to be able to fund one mission for the Wales Air Ambulance, a charity that provides lifesaving care with no charge at all to their patients.”

The mum-of-two emigrated to America with her parents and sister in 1995, and the majority of her family still live in the Gower.

The flight medic originally planned to become a teacher and never dreamed of working for the Emergency Medicine Service. During her second year of training to become a teacher, Naomi happened to be behind a car crash and her career plans change in that moment.

Naomi, who is mum to Mikayla, 15 and Keiron, 12, added: “I instinctively stopped to help and found my calling.’

Naomi is now a Critical Care Flight Paramedic that works in the air medical industry. She said: “Since I started flying, I've been following the Wales Air Ambulance service. I know first-hand what it means to do what we do, and I know how hard it is sometimes. I couldn't imagine doing what I do and knowing in the back of my head that my job and the service that we provide is based on donations only.”

The flight paramedic only started running three years ago and despite having a knee operation two years ago, Naomi ran her first half marathon in 2019.

Mark Stevens, the Charity’s South Wales Fundraising Manager, said: “It is lovely to hear that despite Naomi emigrating in 1995, she has chosen to support her country’s air ambulance. We’d like to wish Naomi all the best with her half marathon. It is heart-warming to know that not only does she save lives in America, but she is ensuring that the people of Wales still have a lifesaving service that they can rely on. Thank you so much.” 

You can show Naomi that she has support from her home country by sponsoring her via her Just Giving page Naomi's Detroit Free Press International Half Marathon page.

So far, she has raised $500 of her $2,500 target.