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“I’m scared of heights but skydiving will be nothing compared with what Dad and others with a terminal illness have to go through.”
Angelique Blanchard, 37 from Broadwater, is preparing to skydive 10,000ft in memory of her father, Paul Blanchard, who passed away on 15 December 2018 at St Barnabas House, aged 68. The date of the skydive – 30 June 2019 – is especially poignant for Angelique and her family as it would have been her father’s birthday as well as her parents’ wedding anniversary.
Angelique says: “I’ve decided to take on a skydive to raise money for St Barnabas House to allow others to benefit from the same excellent care that was given to my dad. I have never done anything like this before, so it will be a massive challenge as I am not the greatest fan of heights!”
Paul, a Lancing resident, was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in 2013 after suffering from a persistent cough. His condition slowly deteriorated and in March 2018 he started attending the Day Hospice at St Barnabas House.
Initially, Paul was hesitant about visiting the hospice.
“After being shown around, Dad said that his fears were allayed and he was put at ease after initially thinking that a hospice is just a place that you go to die.
“From all the doctors, nurses, volunteers, chaplaincy and staff, we felt a huge support network. As Dad said himself, he felt more relaxed and safe at St Barnabas, so for that we will be forever grateful.
“Attending the Day Hospice each week gave him the chance to meet others like him with life-limiting illnesses; talk, read, play games and socialise which he enjoyed immensely. One of his favourite days at the hospice was when the Harley-Davidsons came to visit and he got to enjoy a ride on the back of one – he loved this as in the past he enjoyed rides out on his motorbike with friends.
“In the last two weeks of Dad’s life and such a sad time in ours he went into the hospice for end of life care. St Barnabas were so kind and accommodating, they supported my mum who was staying with him and also my brothers and I who visited every day. The bereavement team have given us ongoing support which has helped with the difficult grieving period.”
Angelique is grateful to everyone who has already donated towards her skydive as well as to those who gave donations at her father’s funeral. The National Coastwatch Institution – where Paul volunteered – have also generously donated to St Barnabas House.
On the day of the skydive, Angelique will be jumping alongside her parents’ neighbour and family friend, Victoria Aspin.
Angelique says: “We will be supporting each other on our 10,000ft leap out of the sky. Victoria is also raising money for St Barnabas House in memory of my dad as well as her cousin, Mark Whittaker, who had worked as firefighter in New Zealand and died suddenly just days after his 45th birthday.”
Visit Angelique’s JustGiving page
If you have been inspired by Angelique’s story visit www.stbh.org.uk/skydive to find out more or give the Events Team a call on 01903 706313 to discuss jumping for the hospice on one of the many other dates throughout the year.