|Photo courtesy of www.p-c-f.org
LONDON - Eight fundraisers from England are jumping out of a plane to raise funds for a UK-based charity helping impoverished communities living on dumpsites in the Philippines.
Skydiving from 10,000 feet at four different locations - Lancaster, Cambridge, Nottingham and Salisbury - each fundraiser is aiming to raise at least £395 individually, or approximately P27,000, for the Philippine Community Fund (PCF).
Abby Elsey, a 16-year-old British student from southern England, started the idea with her mother, Sheila, both of whom have volunteered with PCF in the past through their friendship with its founder, Jane Walker.
"A few years back, at the age of nine, I took part in PCF’s sponsored 200ft abseil. The rush of adrenaline has always been incorporated in my life from my dad swinging me upside-down in my car seat to going on the world’s largest roller coasters. So it’s only natural for me to want to go bigger and better," Abby said on her fundraising webpage.
"By combining two very important parts of my life - charity and adrenaline - I created my next challenge: a tandem skydive. So on the 20th of September I will be fulfilling my dream of jumping out of a plane at 10,000 feet, as well as raising money for a charity I love.”
Abby will be joined by seven other jumpers, including Cathy Smith, 53, who works at a Catholic school; Jimmy Fung, who is married to a Filipina; Alison Jardine, 53, who was inspired by the children from the dumpsites; Jenny Wood, a representative from PCF in the UK; Amanda Cross, 39, mother of two; David Jennings, who works for a media company; and Leah Bishop, 48, a Filipina based in Portsmouth.
Bishop, who is originally from Pangasinan and Baguio, told ABS-CBN Europe how the work of PCF affected her on a previous visit to the Philippines.
"In 2012, I went to visit the PCF school and met some of the children and parents who are being cared for by PCF staff. It was an eye opener to see and hear how they live. When I was approached to do the skydive to raise money for PCF, I did not think twice."
She also revealed how she started walking two miles every morning in the last two months to prepare for the jump, which she has never done before.
"I have not done any skydiving before, nor done any extreme sports such as this. It's going to be a challenge and well worth experiencing," she explained.
The charity is hoping to reach a total of £3,000-5,000 within the next month from its so-called "Jump for the Dump" fundraising drive. They have collectively raised £2,000 so far. Proceeds will go towards unrestricted funds for PCF in the Philippines, whose work include sustainable education, health and nutrition, community advocacy programs and livelihood training.
The group targets the most vulnerable and impoverished communities in urban areas, particularly those living on dumpsites and slums in Tondo, Navotas and Baguio, including the infamous Smokey Mountain.
The PCF skydive is part of a wider fundraising event organized by Skyline, a London-based charity events organizer with more than 20 years of experience and over 100,000 jumpers to date.
Dozens of fundraisers will perform a tandem skydive on the same day, September 20, from six different locations across England, from Brackley to Durham, to raise funds for various charities including PCF, Dogs Trust, Rethink Mental Illness, UNICEF, and Prostate Cancer UK.
They will also attempt to beat a World Record for the most tandem skydives in one day, which currently stands at 201 as organized by Pilgrim Bandits Charity and Army Parachute Association in September 2012.
For more information on PCF and the skydive, visit http://ringpull.org/fundraisers/campaigns/.