HOUSTON (March 20, 2007)

The Memorial Hermann Foundation today announced a $40 million fundraising campaign to purchase six new state-of-the-art helicopters to service Houston and its 150-mile radius. Currently, Life Flight's four helicopters are the busiest in the country and cannot meet increased demand from Houston's growing population. The new aircrafts will be faster, larger, safer, more quiet and better equipped, and will cut response time by as much as 15 minutes-or 33 percent- allowing for an increase in missions flown.

Houston's population of five million people is projected to grow to eight million in the next 10 years. Life Flight is the city's only air ambulance service affiliated with a Level I trauma center and flies more than 3,000 missions every year. Still, there are approximately 100 calls per year that Life Flight simply cannot answer. With more helicopters, better technology and efficiency, Memorial Hermann Life Flight hopes to significantly narrow this gap.

"We fund Life Flight completely on our own," said Tom Flanagan, Chief Operating Officer of Memorial Hermann-TMC. "We provide this rescue service to everyone-regardless of their ability to pay-and we want to continue to do so. That's why we've initiated a fundraising campaign to help us meet the increased demand for this great service."

The new helicopters cannot be purchased without the help of donors. Memorial Hermann Foundation announced today more than $20 million has been donated toward the goal by generous individuals, local foundations such as The Cullen Trust for Health Care and corporations such as BP, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, Shell and Marathon Oil.

Because one in four Life Flight missions involves a child, one helicopter will be dedicated to pediatric cases and will be specially equipped to treat children. Another craft in the new fleet will be dispatched from a new East Houston helipad and will cover the Port of Houston, the ship channel and surrounding communities.

"Philanthropy is crucial to the success of the Life Flight program," said Walter Johnson, Chairman of Amegy Bank and the Life Flight Campaign Cabinet. "Without philanthropic support, Memorial Hermann cannot purchase the helicopters. We believe Life Flight is an essential service to the Greater Houston Community, and we hope to continue to improve Life Flight's excellent level of care."