How Skydiving Changed My Life - Alana Wilson


by Alana Wilson | USPA #266048 | Minnesota City, Minnesota

I'm here to tell you that life begins after 40 … or should I say, “after skydiving”? I never knew how fulfilling or empowering skydiving would be for me until I went for my first tandem skydive. After raising my two daughters on my own and realizing I was truly going to have an empty nest, I decided it was time to go out and do the things I always wanted to do but didn’t because I had to think of my family first.

One of the first things on my list was to go skydiving. I was not prepared for what the experience would do for me. I guess I thought it would be a mark-it-off-the-bucket-list activity, but it was so much more. After that first tandem skydive in September 2011, I found myself obsessed with the thought of going again and soon planned the next one. After going for my second tandem, I made the goal of going for 50 skydives before I turned 50.

Fifty is such a significant number in my life because I lost my dad to cancer when he was 49. I not only want to see the age of 50, but I want to enjoy every moment I can getting there. I don't want to look back and have any regrets about not following my dreams.

I met an instructor who not only encouraged me to go for the 50 skydives but challenged me, as well. After giving it some thought, I approached the instructor with the idea of making the 50 skydives a fundraiser for cancer research. The goals would be to raise money for battling cancer and also to encourage people to try a tandem skydive. The instructor agreed to help, so I launched my fundraiser, Jumps for Hope. Fewer than three months later, he and I completed our 25th tandem together and my 30th tandem since my first one a year earlier. We even did 10 of those in one day; it was exhausting but one of the best experiences of my life and one I will never forget.

Skydiving impacted me in such a positive way that I enthusiastically tell everyone about it. I have convinced many people to try tandem skydiving, and many of them have returned for a second and even third jump. I celebrated with a cancer survivor by convincing her to go with me for a tandem skydive. She said it was the most exhilarating thing she has ever done and is now hooked and is looking forward to many more jumps!

In 2012, I hosted events in both Wisconsin and Texas, and in November I traveled to Colorado to get some training at the indoor-skydiving facility to help prepare me for accelerated freefall classes. I’ve gained the sponsorship of Westside Skydivers, and the DZ has agreed to host events for Jumps for Hope at its drop zones in Winsted, Minnesota, and Sealy, Texas. I have even changed my goal to completing 500 skydives before I’m 50! I will soon be a grandma and am proud to have challenged myself at this time in my life with such an incredible sport.

I do believe skydiving has given me a purpose in life, and I dream daily of the next time I can go. I want to encourage people to follow their dreams, no matter what they are, as you never know which one of those will be life altering in such a positive way. Not only do I feel a passion for skydiving and want to introduce anyone and everyone to such an empowering experience, but I have a passion for making a difference. I now have a direction for my passion and want to make a difference in at least one person's life the way skydiving has made a difference in mine, by giving me confidence and an excitement for life like I’ve never known.


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Edward Hines
Thu, 03/21/2013 - 22:02

Good that you found the one thing that makes you overwhelmingly happy in life. Some people really don't even to the day they pass away. I just hope that it doesn't affect or hinder your role as a mother for your children.

Alana Wilson
Sat, 03/30/2013 - 07:24

Edward, I can't tell you what a difference it has made in my life. I can say that both my daughters are grown and on their own. I am available to be the parent they need as this time in their life while having the opportunity to pursue what I want out of life, and with their support.

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