How Skydiving Changed My Life

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Roland Steadham


by Roland Steadham | C-39315 | Miami, Florida

When I did my first jump at Skydive Utah in Erda nearly four years ago, little did I know it would do much more than change my life; it saved my life! For 33 years, I was a successful TV meteorologist working in large markets like Miami, San Diego and Salt Lake City. But as things go, the economy took a big chunk out of advertising and TV budgets. The end result: I was let go. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Melissa Tsouhnikas


by Melissa Tsouhnikas | C-39407 | Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

Skydiving didn't just change my life, it took over my life, even if everyone didn't get it. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Westy Copeland


by Westy Copeland | A-62615 | Minneapolis, Minnesota

After nearly 20 years of marriage, one gets a bit blasé about stuff. Routines grind on, kids take all your time (and money), and work makes a husband and wife pass like ships in the night. The mirror shows you a body that’s getting older and a face that’s toughened from years of stress. And then one day, your husband suggests trying a tandem skydive. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Shawn Madsen


by Shawn Madsen | C-33917 | Polson, Montana

The effects that skydiving has had on my life are probably a bit different than most. From the time I was a child, I have wanted to jump out of airplanes. Every year for the Fourth of July celebration in our small town in eastern Oregon, there would be skydivers who would land in the middle of the festivities throughout the day. It was from watching them that I began to dream about someday getting to do the same. In 1990, when I was 22 years old, at a hot-air balloon show in Colorado Springs, I made a beeline for some skydivers to inquire about the possibility of jumping. The next day, I found myself doing a static-line jump in Loveland, Colorado, and I’ve been jumping ever since. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Adam Martin


by Adam Martin | B-36896 | Gilbert, Arizona

Starting with the death of my grandfather in December of 2009, my life began to spiral out of control. Over the next two years, I allowed the events happening in and around my family to lead me into a very deep and dark place. After the divorce of my parents and the death of my grandmother, I really didn’t think life could get any worse. How wrong I was! On December 2, 2011, my father, whom I was living with, took his own life. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Alisha Backus


by Alisha Backus | D-32390 | Fern Park, Florida

When a person constantly witnesses emotional or physical abuse, it can take its toll. My parents went through a nasty divorce that took several years. Luckily, my mother is an amazing person who taught me compassion, which is hard to find these days. Through this time, she kept me grounded. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Jason Christensen


by Jason Christensen | A-61244 | Carver, Minnesota

With a simple “three, two, one,” I was out the door and the adrenaline in my veins rushed as quickly as the cool wind. I had bungee jumped off the Grand Canyon and record-high cliffs in Québec, and I had motorcycled for years, but none of those experiences came close to my first skydive. Most people said I was absolutely insane to actually want to jump out of a plane. They might be right, but they don’t know what they’re missing. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Annie Curry


by Annie Curry | A-65625 | Athens, Georgia

The first time I jumped out of a plane, it was a tandem and I was participating in a fundraiser called Jump, Fly, Be Different! for the nonprofit organization Extra Special People. My son has Down Syndrome and attends summer camp at ESP. The organization held the fundraiser to raise money to send kids with disabilities to camp. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - James Hilliard


by James Hilliard | B-35434 | Lincoln, Nebraska

In 2007, at the age of 23, I moved to a new city to be closer to family and finish college. Before moving, I hadn't given much thought to how I would support myself in this new location. Pilot certificates filled my wallet, and I already had a couple years of experience working as a flight instructor. Therefore, I knew my best chances for finding work would be as a pilot. Internet searches led me to the local drop zone. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Ali VanHoose


by Ali VanHoose | B-37618 | Celebration, Florida

In 2003, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression with a side of anxiety. I got on meds, went to therapy regularly and tried to sort out my life. I came across an organization called SOAR (Speaking Out About Rape), founded by Kellie Greene. In 2005, I had the pleasure of meeting her at a weekend retreat in Orlando. It was then that I heard about Operation Freefall, an annual skydiving fundraiser hosted by SOAR. It involved raising money by jumping out of a plane. At the time, I took little pink pills to calm my nerves on flights. I always wanted to jump, dreamed of flying and desired to participate, but fear held me back for years. Seven years, to be exact. more »