A Falmouth teenager who has never been in a plane and doesn’t like heights or fast fairground rides is about to put all her fears to one side and take on a skydive from 10,000 feet.
Emily Williams, of Glasney Road, is literally taking the plunge to raise money for St Thomas’ Lupus Trust which has given her mum, Tracy Rolling, valuable support over the years. Tracy was diagnosed with lupus, a chronic debilitating disorder of the immune system which sees your body fighting itself, in 1998. She almost died of respiratory failure in 2006.
Her illness has affected the lives of the whole family – Emily and brothers, Alec and Ryan, and husband, Robert. Tracy, 50, takes 20 tablets a day and has to inject herself once a week which makes her sick for up to three days.
She has rheumatoid arthritis and a condition known as “sticky blood” which means she is unable to fly because she is susceptible to life threatening blood clots.
She is also unable to sit out in direct sunshine and has to be careful not to get too cold.
“I don’t have much of a life anymore,” she said. “It’s not what you would call a life, it’s an existence. Most of my days I am sat in the house, but the worst thing is people think you look well, but you are not.”
Tracy is a patient at St Thomas’ Lupus Unit in London which she attends every three months. “They are absolutely brilliant and are always looking out for and trialling new drugs,” she said.
It is for this reason that Emily, 19 and an office apprentice, decided to face her fears and raise money for the trust by doing a tandem skydive on June 8 when her mum and other family members will be waiting nervously on the ground to witness her descent.
Emily admits she volunteered to take the dive on the spur of the moment. “I didn’t really think it through,” she said, “and I think I will need a bit of push to get me out of the plane.
“I am more worried about the plane journey, though, than jumping off because I do get travel sick. I will be fine once I’m out of the plane and the parachute is up.”
The teenager set herself a target of raising £300, which she has already reached, so she is now aiming to donate as much as possible to the trust. Anyone wanting to sponsor Emily can do so online by visiting www.justgiving.co.uk/emily-williams20.