Man Faces Fear Of Heights By Skydiving To Raise Money For His Terminally Ill Stepson
Josh Collins faced down his biggest fear on 29 September so that he could help buy his eight-year-old stepson Zach Holland a £13,500 ($17,500) customised all-terrain powered wheelchair that he says will be 'life-changing'. At the time of writing, they had raised just over £13,000.
Now, this whole mission wasn't without mishap. In fact, Josh and his pal Dan Perks had their dives cancelled twice because of essential aircraft maintenance and high winds.
That's not what you want to hear when you're terrified of heights, is it?
However, when the time came, Josh bravely threw himself out of the plane at 10,000 feet in the air, travelling to ground at 125 miles per hour.
While his partner Laura Holland and Zach watched on from the safety of the ground, Josh even managed to make the shape of a Z with his hands as he fell, even though he was - quite reasonably - in a state of utter panic.
After he landed, Josh said: "I wasn't really nervous going up because the guy kept talking to me the whole time.
"It was when other people started jumping out of the plane that it freaked me out. I was the last one out of the plane so I watched everyone go first."
"Initially it was terrifying. Then you don't feel like you're falling, you feel like you're floating.
"Then the guy behind me was waving in front of my face and I managed to do the Zach 'Z' symbol with my hands. That was all I could muster until he pulled the parachute.
"Every time I moved my hands it felt like I was moving, it was over really quickly.
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"When we landed, the guy unstrapped me and said I could go.
"Zach was waiting at the bottom for me, he gave me a cuddle and said he was proud.
"It was quite emotional to be honest, Laura was crying. I was happy that it was done."
Zach was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at the age of just five, meaning that he can't walk very far and must be pushed in a manual wheelchair by his parents or carried.
However, Laura has now had a second child, and can't push both at once.
Due to the pandemic backlog, Zach wouldn't have been eligible for a motorised wheelchair until completely bedbound, so they decided to raise the money themselves.
That's why Josh decided to tackle his greatest fear.
He explained: "I've always been scared of heights. We were strapped to someone so they're the ones doing everything. I was more going to treat it as a kidnapping, to be honest.
"My fear of heights kicks in at about six feet. If there was a thick plank of wood on the floor, I could walk across it, but if you suspend it in the air I would probably fall off it.
"My head can't perceive the depth of that distance. My head will focus on what's down rather than what I'm stood on, and I will just fall over.
"I was scared of the skydive, but at the end of the day it was just going to be a bad time for 20 minutes or so and now we're going to get Zach the chair he wants."
You can donate to the fundraising effort here.
Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News and Media/Eamonn Fairhead
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