WHILE others might look for something to calm their nerves before facing more surgery following breast cancer, Charlie Tristram tried an altogether different approach – throwing herself out of a plane.
Charlie, 47, sky-dived from 10,000ft to raise funds for Angmering-based support group Cancer United.
Her tandem parachute jump earlier this month was just 12 days before Charlie had further reconstructive surgery, after being diagnosed with breast cancer in January last year and undergoing a mastectomy a fortnight later.
Her eldest daughter, Erinn, 21, and Cancer United founder Jan Sheward, watched Charlie’s leap into the wide blue yonder above Old Sarum airfield, near Salisbury.
And Charlie, of Surrey Street, Littlehampton, loved taking the plunge. She said: “There was never a moment when I thought ‘I must be mad’. I was so excited to be doing it. I didn’t even consider the scariness of it,
“It was all so quick. You free-fall for about 15 seconds at 120 miles per hour, and it’s the most incredible feeling.”
Charlie faced up to cancer with the same determination which enabled her to bring up Erinn and her other daughter, Lucy, 17, after becoming a single mum 14 years ago.
“You keep going and carry on regardless. With the cancer, it was a case of ok, it’s something else I’m going to have to deal with.
“When you have cancer, it brings home to you how short your life is and how you need to make the most of it. Sky-diving was on my bucket list of things to do, in my head.”
She is full of praise for the support she received from Cancer United after going along, reluctantly at first, to group meetings, then finding them to be a lifeline. Jan, in turn, described Charlie as ‘a really important member of Cancer United, as she is so positive and nothing seems to phase her – she is really good for the rest of the members’.
Charlie has raised almost £1,400 but hopes to reach £1,500, and donations can still be made on her mydonate site, https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/charlietskydive