Patient Perspective – Taking to the skies

Our resident patient blogger Vickie is taking on a skydive in aid of Leukaemia Care this August. Here, she talks about why she’s taking on this challenge.

I have decided I am doing another charity event this year and cannot wait to tell you about it. Hopefully, you may be interested in doing some charity events for Leukaemia Care yourselves.

This is not the first charity event I have done, but it’s definitely the most nerve-wracking one. I remember doing Mount Snowdon a few years back. I had a group of family and friends that supported me up the mountain. We chose the hottest day possible in July, and the sun was blazing, blue sky, not a cloud in sight and no cool breeze. It took us a few hours, with stops to have some water and a snack. We were all very hot when we walked past a lake in the mountains, and I said, “I need to cool off. I am going in.” So I did; everyone else joined me and it was just magical. It was amazing to think we were up a mountain in a lake, swimming. People who walked past stopped and joined in as well. I couldn’t blame them as it was really a very hot day.

We managed to climb the mountain and the view was outstanding. To complete the mountain, to stand at the top and look at the view, was truly amazing. I was so very proud of myself for completing that challenge, as I do have chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) and, as you know, we get exhausted and very tired, but I did it. I was smiling with excitement.

Yet the challenge didn’t just end there—we also camped overnight on the mountain. Funnily enough, we camped right next to the lake we swam in earlier. It was a bit rough in the tent, but it was all worth it. That experience will always be with me and raising the money for a great charity was amazing.

Well this year I have decided to do another charity event. I am going to do a skydive. Yes, a skydive. Now, I am not the best with heights, and not being in control. I have only just got over my fear of flying as well. So, this is another level for me. I will be jumping out, strapped to a professional skydiver, at 14,000 feet. As soon as we jump out, we will free fall at a speed of 120mph. Then when the parachute pops open, we get taken back up and just float in the sky, like a cloud watching the world go by. I have never done anything on this scale and when I think about it, I ask myself, why am I doing this? Are you mad? Are you sure you want to do this? But I have set myself this challenge and I will do it. I have mixed emotions—scared, nervous, excited. I hope on the day we have good weather as well, with no rain. It would be amazing to see the world from a higher view than Mount Snowdon. I am doing this on the 8th August 2020 at Langar Airfield, Nottingham at 11am. My dad is also joining me, but he isn’t doing it for charity, he has paid for his as this has always been a dream of his. Plus, I will jump first, and if I hesitate, I have asked my dad just to tell me to do it and I will.

This has been on my bucket list and I cannot believe I have the chance to do this, especially to raise money for blood cancer. Leukaemia Care have always been there whenever I have needed them. They have also given me the chance to write blogs a few times a year to discuss my experiences. I love writing these blogs, and I hope they make people more aware of blood cancer.

So, I was thinking if you, a family member or a friend ever wanted to do a charity event, you can. It doesn’t have to be this scale; it could be anything. Baking cakes, walking, climbing a mountain, knitting, sitting in a cold bath of beans for 24 hours; you really can do it. There are so many different ideas you can choose that will be perfect for you and what you are capable of doing. Also, you can get your kids involved, even your pets. It’s such a great feeling when you have raised the money and done the event. It’s worth it and it makes you feel good, knowing you have helped someone.

My next charity event I would love to do is swim with great white sharks in a cage, but that would have to be abroad where the seas are lovely and warm, not here. Hopefully one day I will do it. It’s great to have ambition and look forward to doing something.

Wish me luck, and after I have done the skydive, I will write a blog about my experience and tell you if I enjoyed it. Or not?

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