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Skydivers jump for hope


Fri, Jun 7th, 2013
Posted in All Features

“Do you know someone who likes adventure? Is addicted to adrenaline? Has skydiving on their bucket list?” June 23, at the Rushford Municipal Airport, Jumps for Hope founder Alana Wilson, in cooperation with Westside Skydivers, will provide an opportunity where thrill seekers can quench their search for adventure while providing funds for cancer research.

“We’re excited to bring an event like this to southeast Minnesota,” says Wilson, who is passionate about both skydiving and her opportunity to make a difference to those whose lives have been touched by cancer. “I spent almost 20 years feeling cheated that I lost my father when he was so young. However, since starting Jumps for Hope, I have a new view and have decided to use the power of that emotion to help others. It has also taught me to live with no regrets, to pursue my dreams, to live life boldly and do what makes me happy.”

Wilson has been tandem skydiving for nearly two years and says it’s an experience that’s indescribable. She was so struck by the experience that she set a personal goal of 50 skydives before the age of 50. “I never had a direction in what I could do to help fight cancer, until I gave it some thought and decided I should pair my love for skydiving with raising funds for cancer research. I had also discovered how empowered I felt skydiving and want to share the experience with anyone and everyone,” adds Wilson. Her new goal is 500 jumps before 50.

Seeking a sponsor to further grow the success of Jumps for Hope, Wilson took the advice of a friend and introduced herself to Westside Skydivers owner Joe Johnson. The timing was perfect. Having also been deeply affected by cancer, losing his own father three years earlier, Johnson immediately agreed to sponsor the project. Now, the duo is bringing their hopes to southeastern Minnesota. “Joe and I both believe in the significance of that first jump and believe the experience should be both positive and memorable. In honor of both or our dads, we’d like to invite you to participate in one of our events to help us raise funds in the fight against cancer.”

Jumps for Hope participants will experience tandem skydiving, in which jumpers are harnessed to a qualified and experienced skydiver. Participants will be required to sign a waiver, must bring valid government-issued identification, be 18 years of age or older, and must weigh less than 240 pounds. The cost to participate in the event is $299 and jumpers must be preregistered. Three jump times are being planned for the event; 8am, noon, and 4pm. “A minimum of 100 people must be signed up for the event for it to proceed as scheduled, so gather your friends and family for an experience none of you will forget,” adds Wilson.

One such thrill seeker is Rushford’s own mayor, Chris Hallum, who has on a few occasions mentioned his plans publicly. “I’m going to do it,” he said recently. “It’s a good event and I’m gonna do it.”

Proceeds from the event will go directly to cancer research. Additional donations will stay within the region and will go directly to families dealing with cancer. One available option for donations is nomination of a specific family to benefit from fundraising. If interested in nominating a person or family, email jumpsforhope@yahoo.com with your name and phone number. Please include the name and story of the person you’re nominating. Information is confidential and donations are tax-deductible.

To register, call Westside Skydivers at 888-758-JUMP. Online registration is not available for the event, so you must call for a reservation number. Friends and family are welcome to come and watch the event.

“Finding a cure starts with hope.”

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