A TERMINALLY-ill cancer patient from Leeds took the plunge this weekend to fulfil a bucket list ambition of jumping out of a plane for a 12,000ft freefall skydive.
Jason Wannan, 43, of Harehills, told the YEP the experience of jumping out of a plane allowed him to temporarily forget his devastating diagnosis of tongue cancer, which has left him with just months to live.
He said: “It was fantastic. As soon as you step out of the plane, all your troubles disappear, it’s great. I can’t explain it.
“It was ten times scarier when they opened the doors than I thought it would be. It was as scary as hell but they did a great job. They talk you all through it on the way up.
“Then all you feel is calm.”
The jump was organised by St Gemma’s Hospice, which has been supporting Jason over the past few weeks, and came almost exactly a year after a biopsy first confirmed cancer.
Jason had sought help from his GP and a dental school after a noticing a hole appear under his tongue.
He immediately underwent two rounds of chemotherapy and 35 sessions of radiography but tests sadly showed the cancer was still there.
In November, doctors then told him the only option left would be radical surgery to remove his tongue, teeth and parts of his jaw.
After heartwrenching discussions with his partner of nine years, Tracey Baker, 44, he decided to turn down the treatment.
He said: “I would never have been able to swallow or eat again. Or talk. It was neverending. That’s not the quality of life I’m willing to have.
“Everything changes. It’s a strange place to be in your mind.
“But I have a great girlfriend, family and friends. Everyone has my back.”
Tracey said: “At the moment he’s doing everything that he can. We’re just taking each day as it comes. He’s not miserable, he’s fighting. He’s laughing and joking. I couldn’t be proud of anyone more.”
Jason’s skydive was to raise money for St Gemma’s Hospice. Community nurse Kathryn Goldsborough said: “Jason was referred to St Gemma’s Hospice in order for us to manage his symptoms and make the most of his time left with his friends and family.
“St Gemma’s has a team of specialist nurses who work across the community and enable people like Jason to be cared for at home.
“We’ve been supporting Jason and helping him to achieve the best possible quality of life through his illness.
“He was so determined not only to take part in one of the most thrilling experiences of his life but to raise money for the Hospice that has been looking after him and his friends and family through this difficult time.”
To donate to Jason’s skydive fundraising, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JasonWannanSkydive.