Sarah Elliot, 33, lives in Doncaster and is a photographer. Sarah decided to take on a fundraising challenge to raise money for Sands following the death of her baby son Cohen, who was stillborn in July 2012.
“My son Cohen was stillborn in 2012, and it was the most devastating experience of my life. I wanted to do something positive in his memory, and also support Sands as the charity helped me get through my darkest days.
I had always wanted to do a skydive but never really looked into it, but after I lost Cohen, I was determined to do something special and different. I spotted a Sands post on Facebook, encouraging people to think about doing a skydive for them, so I sent off for the information and signed up straight away. It was the perfect opportunity to raise money, do the skydive, remember Cohen and raise awareness of stillbirth and neonatal death.
When the day arrived, 19 of my friends and family came to support me at Skydive Hibaldstow, where I did my jump. We all had matching T-shirts with my sons name on. I've raised more than £1000 for Sands – I posted the video on Facebook and got lots of additional donations after the skydive, which was fantastic.
The parachuting experience was amazing! I loved every minute of it. I wasn't nervous at all, even though I was expecting the nerves to kick in the week before the skydive. But I was excited. In fact, the night before I was so excited that I couldn't sleep! The instructor was lovely, he made sure I knew everything and that I was happy with what was expected of me. He was funny and great to get along with. He even asked if I liked the Waltzer, so that he knew whether I wanted to spin in the air which was fantastic. The free fall was an absolutely amazing experience. I can see why people do it again and again!
If I had the chance, I would definitely do it again, it was a brilliant experience. It's also given me more memories of my son. Memories are all I have; memories that I create. I would advise anyone thinking of doing a skydive to go for it. Have fun counting down to it (I did a photo everyday once I got into single figures). Also, enjoy the day, everything about it from the briefing to take-off, to the freefall at 120mph and the landing. Be prepared for your ears to pop on the way up, and buy the DVD because you will love it! I watch mine all the time."
If you are inspired by Sarah’s story and want to take on a challenge for Sands, get in touch with our fundraising team: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you fancy doing a tandem skydive yourself, you can find out more details here.