Searching for a cure, Improving lives

Skydiving Superstars!

Posted on: June 19th, 2017 | 0 comments

8 months ago we set ourselves a challenge of trying to get as many people as we could doing a tandem parachute jump on the same day, raising lots of money to help in finding a cure for Duchenne at the same time.  We were bowled over by the response and had a brilliant 16 people lined up to jump on 17 June.

Helen Keenan, our Community Fundraising Officer swallowed her fears and took part herself;

Saturday arrived and the day was here.  We were so lucky with the weather, the day dawned with the sun shining brightly and barely a cloud in the sky.  We had 9 people jumping in Peterborough and 7 in Hibaldstow.  Our first set of daredevils were ready and raring to go, with all of the team at Peterborough, Lex (Duchenne parent to Samson), Abby, Kerry, Lauren, Louise, Naomi, Nicola, Sophie and Will, and the first 3 at Hibaldstow, Michael (Duchenne parent to Dylan), Laura and I, arriving at around 8am.  Wow, the day was hot already and only set to get hotter, but the clear day meant the beautiful English countryside was in full view.

claire sowden 1

After a safety briefing and training on how to position ourselves during the jump, we headed down to the airfield to get kitted out, some very attractive jumpsuits and hats.  Nerves were definitely kicking in and we had some worried looking faces around, but the amazing people who had sponsored us, and thoughts of Dylan and all the other youngsters living with Duchenne, the reason we were doing it kept us going onwards.

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After thorough equipment checks, finally the moment of truth arrived and off we went to the plane.  This is where it all became real as we began our ascent up to 15,000 ft.  I looked out of the window, thinking we must be nearly there, we were so high, only to be given the news by my instructor that we were only at 5000 ft, 10,000 ft to go!

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About half way up we ran through what we needed to do again and confirmed we knew what we were doing (honest!).  Then with just 1 minute until we were jumping, the goggles came on and we were ready to go.  The camera man went out first, hanging onto the side of the plane while we shuffled to the door of the plane and dangled over the edge, capturing my terrified face for prosperity!  It all happened so quickly from here on in, before I knew it we were over the edge and hurtling towards the ground.  It is hard to describe how this felt, being strapped securely to another person, and feeling them behind you does weirdly give you a sense of security, even though all you can see is the ground getting closer.

Then the parachute opens and everything is OK, a sense of calm comes over you as you now start to gently float towards the earth and you can start to take in the beautiful view you are gliding over.  This was easily the best part, it was so quiet and peaceful up there, and we really were blessed with such a beautiful day.  Before you know it you are coming in to land, keeping your legs in the air to avoid breaking them and you are on terra firma once more.

The whole group did amazingly, I actually still can’t believe we did it!  After a lunch break, it was time to head back to the airfield for our remaining 4 jumpers, Claire (Duchenne parent) and her friends Andrea, Emma and Sarah, all travelling down from Pocklington for the afternoon slot.  Every emotion was taking place that afternoon, excitement, nerves, trepidation and lots of good humour, made all the worse by a long wait as the running order had got delayed.  Finally after what felt like an age it was time, the kit went on and off they went.  It was a totally different experience (and more relaxed!) watching from the ground.  Definitely a strong sense of excitement and anticipation, watching the plane going up and up and waiting for them to appear.  Finally we started to spot them, and spent lots of time, and took lots of photos trying to guess which ones they are out of the 8 or so parachutes who all appeared at the same time!

As they came in to land we spotted each of the team and they all looked to be enjoying it, phew!

It was such an amazing day, both taking part and supporting the others, I finally made it home exhausted but happy, so proud of what we all achieved.  Thank you so much to everyone who took part, and an amazing total of almost £7000 has been raised so far with more coming in.  Well done everybody.

We also need to say a thank you to the brilliant teams at Skydive Hibaldstow and Sibson Skydiving in Peterborough.  They were absolutely brilliant all day and kept us calm and happy throughout the experience, thank you.

And finally a special mention to Emma’s son Luke, who was a superstar all afternoon, waiting for over 6 hours to watch his mummy, you are an absolute superstar, well done Luke.”

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Meanwhile, over in an equally scorching Peterborough, the 9 Jumpers excelled themselves, showing incredible bravery! Split up into smaller groups, they boarded their planes and were off!  Climbing up to 10,000 feet they pushed themselves to the limit. The sky was blue, with a spattering of cloud, which made for a magical jump. They had Lucas and Samson and all the people living with Duchenne in their hearts as they made the leap and we can’t wait to see their videos.

sophie abby and naomi

Take a look at Helen Keenan, our Community Fundraising Officer’s film from her Hibaldstow jump.

After such a brilliant day we are keen to have even more people jumping next year, so if you’re free on 7 July 2018 and want to challenge yourself, just get in touch with helen@actionduchenne.org or samantha@actionduchenne.org or give us a call on 020 8556 9955.  We’ll see you there!

 

 

 

 

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