Radio host up for cancer jump challenge

A novel campaign from the Cancer Society is giving supporters the chance to experience the rush of jumping out of a plane from a great height, while raising funds for a good cause.

The charity has partnered with nine skydive operations across the country, as part of a nationwide fundraising initiative during May.

Forty people signed up in the Otago and Southland regions to take the leap, jumping out of a plane from a height of about 12,000 feet.

Dunedin breakfast radio co-host Hannah Wilkins was among the volunteers who took up the challenge, jumping with Queenstown-based NZONE Skydive on Tuesday.  Volunteers need to raise at least $1000 for the Jump for Cancer campaign to qualify for a free jump .

Wilkins says her nerves were warranted, but admits they don't compare to the emotions of those fighting the deadly disease.

"I was nervous, obviously.  But at the same time, the reality is 71 people are finding out today that they have cancer.  So if I can jump out of a plane to make some kind of difference.. I’m okay with it."

A last-minute $1000 donation by Dunedin business, John's Furniture Warehouse, came with one condition.. that Wilkins' Breeze radio co-host Damian Newell also took a leap of faith from the skies.

"It was insane!", said Wilkins after landing.

"Actually to put it into words is crazy cause I still haven’t caught my breath.  All the fear went out the window as the parachute went up - it’s the free fall!"

Their fundraising efforts will add to the national tally, which has already passed $150,000.  More than 230 supporters across the country have already made the jump, with the campaign running until the end of May.

 - Aaron Ross

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