Leap of faith for can­cer jumpers

Auckland City Harbour News - - News -

Can­cer pa­tient Shan­non Ryan un­der­stands fear but be­ing on an air force Her­cules strapped to a bloke about to leap out puts fear in a whole new light.

But the 22-year-old says Jump Start 2008 was one of the best ex­pe­ri­ences of a life lived with can­cer.

Jump Start puts youngsters in dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances with ex­pe­ri­enced tan­dem parachutists. Air force vol­un­teers load them into a Herc at When­u­a­pai and then it’s a huge leap of faith.

Shan­non says jump­ing was a daunt­ing prospect for 25 Can­Teen­ers last year.

“Walk­ing out to the air­craft made you re­alise what you were about to do.

“You were go­ing to fly to 10,000 feet and jump out of a per­fectly good air­craft.”

With the plane at jump height the rear ramp is low­ered and a view of Auck­land and the sur­round­ing is­lands un­folds.

“At that height you can al­most see the curve of the earth and I will never for­get wad­dling to­wards the end of the ramp be­fore we jumped.

“Af­ter ro­tat­ing a few times we stead­ied and af­ter what seemed like an age fall­ing, but was only 30 sec­onds, the para­chute opened, much to my re­lief,” Shan­non says.

“The feel­ing of fall­ing and then glid­ing back to earth can’t be de­scribed.

“The adren­a­line we Can­Teen­ers ex­pe­ri­enced kept us up well into the night.”

This year’s event has been sched­uled for March 14 and young can­cer suf­fer­ers will again get the chance to test their faith in oth­ers.

The idea is that the “ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing alive trans­forms”.

Jumpers face new fears, find sup­port and iden­tity by plac­ing their trust in oth­ers, ex­pe­ri­ence the ela­tion of sky­div­ing, gain con­fi­dence from ac­com­plish­ing a goal, and a sense of be­long­ing from be­ing part of Jump Start.

The event asks sky­divers to raise money to spon­sor a teenager.

The tan­dem mas­ters, cam­era fly­ers and air force per­son­nel all do­nate their time and re­sources.

Sky­div­ing en­thu­si­ast Lars Bo­jsen-Moller says Jump Start gen­er­ates growth and con­fi­dence in young peo­ple.

“Our chil­dren are the most im­por­tant el­e­ment in our fu­ture and Jump Start is go­ing to be an amaz­ing event that will change the lives of all in­volved.”

To sup­port it visit www. jump­start.org.nz.

You can also make a credit card do­na­tion through www. fundraiseon­line.co.nz.Se­lect the make a do­na­tion but­ton. It’s se­cure and an emailed re­ceipt will be is­sued.

Cheques can also be can be made out to Jump Start, and sent to Jump Start, PO Box 84 354, West­gate 0657, Waitakere.

Into the blue, above: Jump Start par­tic­i­pants put their faith in tan­dem mas­ters who vol­un­teered their time. Here we go, right: Jump Start chal­lenges young can­cer suf­fer­ers to have faith in oth­ers.

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