Our supporters are making this Leap Year even more exciting by jumping 10,000 feet from a plane in support of families in your community who are living with Huntington’s disease (HD).
And we’d love you to join them!
Scottish Huntington’s Association is bringing the spirit of adventure to 2020 with the launch of its calendar of adrenalin-raising challenges, including a tandem skydive which last year attracted jumpers from all over Scotland.
They included 80-year-old Edna MacIver, pictured below, from Dumbarton, a first time fundraiser for SHA but an ‘old hand’ at skydiving having braved a tandem skydive in 1997 and a solo parachute jump in 1989.
This year, Edna is urging people to give it a go for themselves – to enjoy the thrill of a lifetime knowing that every penny raised will make a difference to families living with HD.
“I saw the skydive being advertised in my local paper and I kept the story for a few weeks before deciding to register on my 80th birthday,” said Edna.
“At that point I didn’t know much about Huntington’s disease – It was only when I got in touch with Scottish Huntington’s Association that I began to learn more about the truly horrific symptoms and how children of an HD parent are also at risk of going on to develop the disease.
“That made me even more determined to go ahead, knowing that every penny I raised would help families in Scotland, especially the many young people who are affected by this disease.
“Scottish Huntington’s Association stayed in touch with me in the months leading up to the jump, and was always there to answer any questions that I had. It was a brilliant day, and the skydive was just as good as I remembered.
“It was amazing to jump from 10,000 feet and gaze at the beautiful scenery from above. The first few seconds were in freefall, then the parachute opened and we just floated for about 10 minutes until we reached the ground. I loved it, and knowing that I was also helping families makes the memory even more special.”
Huntington’s disease is an incurable genetic condition with complex and severe symptoms that include changes to the thinking processes (an early onset dementia), loss of muscle control, personality changes and mental illness. People with HD can lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink and make decisions and many go on to need 24-hour care outwith the family home.
There is no cure and it has a devastating impact on families, compounded by the reality that each child of an HD parent is at 50% risk of inheriting the faulty gene which leads to the disease. In Scotland today there are 1100 people with HD and a further 5000 are believed to be at risk.
By taking part in the Scottish Huntington’s Association skydive, jumpers will raise much-needed funds to ensure that HD families in Scotland have the right support in place to cope with the challenges they face every day.
That includes access to an HD specialist, financial advisors to ease household hardship, and a world-leading youth team that works closely with young people growing up in HD families.
The charity was founded in 1989 by families living with Huntington’s disease. Since, then, Scottish Huntington’s Association has grown to become a national organisation and, as families continue to drive its work forward, it is now regarded as a world-leading provider of care and support for the HD community.
The 2020 skydive takes place on Saturday, 16 May 2020 at Strathallan Airfield in Perthshire. Jumpers are asked to raise a minimum of £499 sponsorship to take part.
To find out more, visit https://hdscotland.org/sha-skydive/