Leap of faith

Going to new heights in the fight against cancer

An annual tradition that takes grand strides against cancer may have been cancelled in Vernon, but the fight continues.

The Canadian Cancer Society decided to cancel the Run for the Cure locally due to a decline in participation and dollars raised over the years.

Therefore, no more will there be the sea of pink every October that once filled the Fulton Secondary parking lot, and in more recent years Marshall Field.

The cancellation of the run follows the closure of the Vernon cancer society office Sept. 15.

Having laced up for the run in past years with friends and family, it’s sad to know we won’t be celebrating the survivors and remembering those we’ve lost with an official event. For me, the tradition started with a few friends, rallying around their own loved-ones battling cancer or lost from the wicked disease. Then in 2012, almost a year before she passed away, we did the Run for the Cure with mom. “I’m running WITH mom, because she can,” read the sticker on my shirt, which I still have. Even though she couldn’t join us again, the run became a tradition for my daughter and I, along with my mom’s dog, in her honour.

So with no official event to take part in this year, I quite literally went to new heights to support the fight against cancer — I jumped out of an airplane!

Joining my aunt’s solo efforts to Jump for the Cure, I managed to raise approximately $650 for the Canadian Cancer Society (and I’m still collecting for anyone wanting to donate).

While the tandem skydive was a first for my aunt, I had made the leap once before shortly after my mom passed away — therefore I was basically a pro. So I made the jump a little extra special by taking some of my mom’s ashes up with me. Taking place at SkyDive Vancouver Island, which my uncle happens to own, made it extra special. Not only is there the family connection, but Qualicum Beach was mom’s final resting place. To top it off, two of my little cousins and their dad also made the leap!

Soaring to 10,000 feet, each of us made the jump. During the approximately 40-second freefall is when I let some of mom’s ashes fly. She always said she would never jump out of a perfectly good airplane, but I made her do it anyway — sorry mom!

The thrill and exhilaration of the entire event is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced — even the second time. From the flight up, to the minute the door whizzes open and you feel like you’re going to be sucked out of the plane, to the terrifying push out of the plane and the 200 km/hour freefall, the peaceful soaring once the chute opens and even the landing, it’s an unforgettable experience.

My uncle, mom’s little brother, filmed it all as my tandem instructor strapped to my back. You can check it out online at vernonmorningstar.com.

While not everyone has the stomach for skydiving, you can still do your part by joining the Run for the Cure in Kelowna Oct. 1. Or choose another activity that suits you — it can even be a dinner party. Or make your own run! For more information check out the My Run. Any where. Any way.

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