Kevin Cannon recently undertook a Skydive and raised funds for Diabetes Ireland. Here he writes about his experience….
Photo (L-R): Mary, Kevin, Ian & Roisin
I had always wanted to do a parachute jump, not for the usual reasons, but actually because I knew that I would be absolutely terrified and I wanted to overcome that fear… or just do it anyway!
So back at the end of March this year, Mary and I were sitting in front of the TV wearing matching slippers and out of no-where I asked “Can I do a skydive?”. Not thinking I had the slightest notion of going through with it, Mary replied “Yes dear, of course you can”.
Next day I signed up online with Skydive Ireland to do a Tandem Skydive and the next question was which charity should I do it for? I am 59 years of age and 15 years ago I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes so it had to be Diabetes Ireland.
I eventually booked a date for the jump, Monday 11th June – 2 months away – no problem then.
2 months later, the night before the jump, I was feeling a bit different, nerves jangling. Next thing I receive an email from Skydive Ireland saying it would not be going ahead due to unsuitable weather. I felt a mixture of disappointment, frustration and relief.
Re-scheduled for Friday 6th July and the day finally arrived. We left base camp in Tinahely at 08:00 to arrive at Kilkenny Airport for 10:00. Got to Kilkenny expecting to find road signs for an airport but not one to be seen anywhere. We stopped to ask a local… “I’m not sure but I think you’re going the wrong way”.
Arrived for 10:00 but no jumping until the cloud burnt off – the waiting just built up the tension – finally the first plane went up at 13:30. I was in the fourth plane so it would be about 15:00.
Three people go up in each ‘lift’ with their individual instructor attached to their back… with a parachute. It takes about 10 minutes to reach 10,000 feet. We were second to board and last to jump.
We dropped much quicker than I had anticipated and it seemed as though I was plunging head first but that could have been my imagination, I do remember hyperventilating, 30 seconds of sheer terror. Then the chute opened and relative safety! Now it was brilliant. I took the controls and did a few turns, the views were unbelievable, the last few hundred feet and finally the softest landing I could have wished for.
What had I been afraid of? Oh yes, I remember!
Collecting sponsorship was the most rewarding part of the whole exercise – the generosity shown by friends, family and even complete strangers exceeded all expectations – you all know who you are so THANK YOU.
Finally a special thanks to Mary, Roisin, Margaret and Ian, without whom none of this could have happened.