A SKYDIVING 16-year-old was prompted to lead her own fundraising mission by what she called the inspirational story of Josie Grove.
Nicola Short, of Newton Aycliffe, jumped from 10,000 feet on the day of her 16th birthday – the earliest she could legally tackle the challenge.
She was so moved by Josie’s plight that she donated all her sponsorship to the cause, raising £1,300 for the Josie Grove Leukaemia Fund.
Nicola’s money means The Journal’s Josie Grove Leukaemia Fund has topped £30,000.
Nicola’s friends and family were amazed at her bravery. A video taken of the tandem dive shows her smiling all the way down.
She said: “I saw Josie on the TV at Christmas time and I began to search for her website on the internet.
“I only had her first name though, so it was quite hard.
“It was in January or February that I eventually found it.
She said: “Because she was so close to me in terms of age I could never see myself in that situation.
“I couldn’t even think how it would be to be diagnosed.She is an inspiration.”
While doing a sky-dive was something Nicola, of Chapman Close, had already set her sights on, it was a later decision to do it for charity.
She collected sponsorship from her school, St John’s in Bishop Auckland, while her former school, St Mary’s, had a non-uniform day to raise funds.
Nicola said: “It was my idea to do it for charity, but I don’t feel like I’ve done enough yet. I really want to be put on the bone marrow register but I can’t until I’m 18.
“If they won’t let me do it before, when I’m 18, I’ll definitely be doing it.”
Mum Susan said she was very proud of her daughter and stressed that the whole process had been led by Nicola’s determination to make a difference.
Having done the jump, she met Josie’s mum Jacqui, who told her the money raised would help three seriously ill children. Nicola said: “At this point I was crying. Jacqui told me she was really pleased I had done it for Josie.”