Larry's experience skydiving with cancer survivors.
Updated: Jul 27, 2019
Skydiving has been a lifelong passion of mine. I made my first jump in 1976, and I became a tandem instructor in 1987.
I also have some insight into the trauma, fear and toll that cancer places on those with the dreaded diagnosis, as I have been a patient of Texas Oncology since 1995 when I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
As an instructor, I have had the honor of making tandem jumps with people with disabilities and other types of physical limitations, ranging from blindness and lower-body paralysis to the infirmities of old age and end-stage cancer. Each of these people experienced the fear and anxiety that goes with putting one's life on the edge of the abyss and falling into thin air. Each had the human response that recoils from seemingly certain death, and yet each one made that leap of faith.
I'm not sure who gets the biggest benefit from those very special jumps. For me, it is an amazing gift to see the ecstasy streaming out of my companions as they experience victory over fear and the ability to control their lives, if only for a brief period.
I want to thank you and your organization, 2 Miles of Smiles, for your efforts to offer this experience to more people and bring some sorely needed joy and relief to people enduring the fear, uncertainty, loss of control and other trials that go along with cancer and cancer treatment.
Although the jump may be measured in minutes, I know from experience — my companions’ as well as my own — that those feelings of confidence and empowerment are lasting. They give us strength for the battles to come, and the value of that cannot be measured.