Skydive Carolina's own Brenda Kramar was on last week's world record effort - Jump For The Cause! We are very proud of Brenda and the way she represented Skydive Carolina and herself. Below, Brenda offers her final thoughts on an incredible week at Perris Valley, CA.
I've been back from California now for a few days and wanted to send one last update to those of you who have been following the event! For those who haven't heard - we built the record! Saturday afternoon, a 181-way was completed in the skies over Perris Valley. One of the really significant things about this is that it is the first time that a record formation has been completed LARGER than the original stated goal. Our goal was 180. My understanding is that the extra person had been filling in for someone who was sick on the earlier dives and when that person was ready to step back on, the substitute had been flying so well that the captains didn't think it was fair to take her off. So - they added a slot for her. Pretty cool!
The other really, amazing thing about this event is that an unbelievable amount of money was continuing to come in while we were there. By the time I left California, the fundraising amount was OVER $900,000!!!!! The website is not being updated as regularly now so I don't think you'll see that reflected. That is an amazing amount of money to be raised in a down economy with lots of jumpers from other countries that couldn't even use a tax write-off as an incentive for their donors. Sometimes we forget how big of a deal it is for someone in say an eastern European country to raise the large minimum donation that is required to come to this event. They do it because they not only believe in the abilities of the group to raise awareness with a world record, they believe in funding and finding a cure for cancer. Just on my airplane we had girls from the USA, Germany, UK, Venezuela, Italy, Japan, and Texas. The girl docking on my right in the formation was from Estonia. I believe there were around 31 countries represented in all (not including Texas).
I think there were at least two or three breast cancer survivors on the record jump as well as a few survivors of other types of cancers. I hope that serves as inspiration and hope to some of those who may have recently been diagnosed that there IS hope and you may still be able to do GREAT things after a cancer diagnosis. In addition to the survivors on the record, some of us were flying with names embroidered on our chest straps and/or patches in memory of someone who has fallen or in honor of a survivor. Janet Lundquist has organized these Flying Angels for the last few events and it has been an honor and privilege to fly for them. These names and these people were in our hearts on every, single skydive.
There's really no possible way to describe the energy and emotions that go along with an event like this. I'm really thankful that Kyle was able to come out for the last few days. I've tried to explain to him over the years what this event is like and he agreed once he was there - no words to really describe it. The jumpsuits are so bright that you can see the colors of the formation from the time we exit the airplanes 18,000 feet up. With his binoculars, Kyle was able to pick me out every time and follow me in the sky from exit to canopy opening. In the last part of the week, I became a tracking leader for my group (responsible for leading us safely away from the formation at the right radial and angle to find clear air for opening our parachutes) and since Kyle could see the folks at the edges of my group better than I could, he would watch the break-off and debrief me when I got down so that I could better talk to our group about how to make the breakoff and separation safer. That was REALLY cool and very appreciated!
We couldn't have done this without people like you behind the scenes. Thank you for your donations, your love, your support, your prayers.
Blue Skies, and Pink Ribbons