It’s Raining Amputees
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A group of amputees took to the skies overhead in Nottinghamshire this week, in a charity tandem sky dive.
The idea was conceived when a patient at PACE Rehabilitation in Chesham, Bucks casually mentioned to his prosthetist, Jamie Gillespie, that he had always wanted to do a parachute jump, but as an amputee he wouldn’t be able to. Little did he realise that Jamie, an amputee himself, was a paratrooper in the Army prior to his amputation and saw no reason why a jump wasn’t possible.
Jamie explained “We actively encourage our patients here at PACE to return to active lifestyles, but I admit that this is a bit extreme!”
Interest quickly grew, as invitations were sent out to other PACE Rehabilitation patients. Nine willing participants, including seven amputees, quickly put their names down to jump!
Thanks to the excellent cooperation and understanding of the British Parachute School at Langar airfield, the courageous amputees were able to board the light aircraft to make their +13,000 feet jumps. The majority of amputees elected to jump wearing their prosthesis, making spectators unaware of their physical conditions.
With prosthetic limbs securely fastened, the intrepid individuals bravely threw themselves out of a perfectly serviceable aircraft to commence a 35-second freefall, followed by a controlled parachute decent back to terra firma, all whilst safely strapped to an experienced tandem parachute instructor.
Daniel Hughes from Sheerness in Kent, who only lost his leg in April, said “That was incredible! I want to do another one straight away”.
The crowd were amazed to then see bi-lateral amputee and student prosthetist Anna Tarkowski from Bolton (pictured right) gracefully glide into sight with both of her prosthesis removed! Afterwards, an almost speechless Anna said “Wow! That was amazing! I’m so glad I’ve done it”.
It was unanimous that it was a terrific experience, with each jumper excitedly having their own tale to tell.
Jamie explained “Today has been fantastic. The camaraderie between everyone has been brilliant.” He continued “It provided a real confidence boost for everyone. After leaping out of a plane, they’ve proved to themselves that they can do almost anything. I think this might become an annual event!”
With the participants coming from across England, a national charity was selected – Children’s Hospices UK. Monies are still being collected, however it is expected that in excess of £3,000 has been raised by the daring, if somewhat unorthodox, group of jumpers!
11th September 2009
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