Oncology staff take to the skies to celebrate a big birthday

  • 15 October 2021

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Oncology staff from Addenbrookes posing for photo

On a cold, damp and miserable October morning a team of specialist nurses and a doctor who predominantly work in oncology at nearby Addenbrooke’s Hospital took to the skies to celebrate a big birthday and used it as a chance to fundraise for Arthur Rank Hospice Charity.

Jill Barker, oncology specialist nurse,  had originally planned the tandem skydive for 2020 to celebrate her 50th birthday but,  like most events last year, was postponed due to the pandemic. The jump was scheduled for this year and Jill encouraged some of her colleagues to also jump and to help fundraise for Arthur Rank Hospice Charity instead.

Jill and her colleagues (Lucy McDonald, Caroline Hough, Bristi Basu & Anna Gorick) have come across the Hospice in both a professional and personal point of view so know how vital their fundraising efforts are.

Getting prepared

It was an early start on the day of the jump and all had to be there for 7.30am to register and take part in the training.  Eyes were constantly cast on the wind funnel and the skies as it was touch and go whether the jump would go ahead as strong winds and rain were forecast but at 10.30am they were given the call to go and get strapped up into the gear that would attach them to the instructor when they jump.

Excitement turned to nerves during the wait  and at 11am they were set and ready to head to the aeroplane.  The plane took to the skies laden with our team of jumpers, their instructors, cameramen and videographers – oh, and a pilot!

Up, up and away

Watching the plane take to the skies from our own viewpoint, we quickly see it climb to 10,000 ft and disappear into the clouds before it re-emerged and circled around the skydiving centre.  One by one we could see dots falling from the aeroplane and, after a minute or so but probably felt like an eternity to them, watch the parachutes open and the descent from our team.  All had a very safe landing – even if one did land a little further away than planned and was collected by a van ……

Thank you

Together, the team have raised over £1800 but there is still time to donate if you would like to show your support to this team of thrill seekers.

Afterwards, Jill said “Thanks to everyone who has made such generous donations to a cause that means a lot to us personally and professionally”.

Alison, Community Fundraiser, said “it was a privilege to be able to go along to show this inspiring team our support.  We are always full of admiration for all those who choose to take on a challenge such as this.  So often it seems like a very good idea to start with which turns quickly into nerves on the day but is then so fulfilling you wonder what all the fuss was about”.

Jill Barker standing with colleagues ready for skydive

Are you a thrill seeker? Could you jump out of an aeroplane?  If you fit the bill, contact the Fundraising Team on fundraising@arhc.org.uk or call 01223 675888; we would love to support you too.