A PORTADOWN fundraising group showed no fear as they jumped out of a plane at 13,000 ft to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society and Williams Syndrome Foundation, writes Andrea Rice.
Eight people took the plunge at Wild Geese Skydiving Centre in Garvagh on July 8 and presented the Alzheimer’s Society with a cheque of £4,000, at Bar2, on Monday evening.
Ruth Newport, Kenny Fowler, Andrew Robinson, Joanne McCormick, Ben Rafferty, Lee Leckey, Peter Clarke and Keith Allen, raised the money together. Ruth Newport, who presented the cheque to Alzheimer’s society representative Patrick O’Hagan, said it was very much a group effort.
“We did a tandem skydive from 13,000 feet which was a little scary. We raised our money by collecting in Bar 2, also from friends and family. We held a quiz night which involved a raffle and table quiz with a few games. That night raised £800 towards our total. Christine Ogilby, Lee Mustoe and Lisa Allen helped to raise money via quiz night and collections.”
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, one in three people over 65 will die with dementia but Ruth stresses that the disease doesn’t just have an impact on the elderly.
“The reason why I chose to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society and Williams Syndrome Foundation is because my mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years ago,” said Ruth. “I wanted to raise money and awareness of Alzheimer’s as I know it is underfunded and that people don’t realise that Alzheimer’s could happen to younger people and not just the elderly.
“It has impacted our family a lot. People don’t realise how hard it is on family members. We have to watch as the mum and wife we used to know changes and becomes something else. Some days we see who she used to be and then the next that person could be gone again. You have to treasure the good days and try and create good memories. It’s hard for me as I still live at home, I’m 21 and still attend university. It’s hard to balance university with home life. My mum has three nieces and a nephews and it is hard for them to understand what is happening to their ‘Nanny’ it makes them sad to see her on a bad day but they try their best to help.
“I really didn’t expect that amount of support at all, everyone who helped raise money made so much effort and for that I am grateful!”
Ruth admitted the sky dive had been a frightening experience.
She continued, “When I was in that plane I was so scared, it was so nerve wrecking but I just told myself to tighten up that mum had raised me and done everything for me, jumping out of a plane was the least I could do for her! Plus my family and friends were waiting at the bottom so I definitely didn’t want them to think I had chickened out!
“Last night’s presentation was really emotional for me as all of my and everyone’s effort had paid off. All of the hard work was worth it to know that our money will make a difference to people’s lives.”
She added, “I chose Williams Syndrome as my cousin has it, She is the one who collected the cheque on behalf of the Williams Syndrome Foundation.”
The Portadown fundraisng group would like to thank everyone for their support. Ruth added, “My main sponsors included Bar 2, McConvilles, Euphoria, Whitehaven, Sitara Morgan, Oh La Laa, Thorntons, McKeevers & Sons, Freedom Clothing, Kaos, Kabra, J.R McMahon, McQuillians, Campbells Jewellers, Bennetts, Head O’The Road, Robyn James Hairdresser, M & W Meats, Pizza Pit Stop and Hoggs Bar. I am really grateful to these sponsors and would like to thank them. I would also like to thank the customers and staff of McConvilles, Bar 2, Euphoria for their support. And the staff of Shop 4 You.”If your family has been affected by Dementia call the Alzheimer’s Society helpline on 0300 222 1122.