SOAK realise the importance of charity and like to give back to the community and to causes that are important to the team. This means SOAK fully support all team members that want to fundraise, which includes paying for any upfront costs, paid time off and of course, a kind donation!
With this in mind, I decided to jump out of a plane at 13,000ft to raise money for Big C.
I chose Big C for the fantastic work they do in supporting cancer sufferers in the Norfolk and Waveney area. Money from Big C also goes into funding crucial research into the prevention of cancer. Every two minutes, someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer, with 8,000 in the Norfolk area every year. As continued cancer research can be expensive, it is crucial that Big C gets the help from volunteers, fundraising and donations.
Knowing the importance of this cause, I wanted to get involved and do something to raise as much money as I could. So then that left me with the question of what activity should I do? Naturally, picking something ‘high risk’ that I’ve never done before seemed like a logical solution. Skydiving is something I’ve always considered so I chose that. This was an easy decision to make while my feet were firmly placed on the ground. Once the Just Giving page was set up, and the social media posts were created for this fundraising event, there was no backing out.
On the day, I didn’t know what to expect (bar being shoved out of a plane) or how I was going to feel. Even sitting in the plane which was swiftly ascending to 13,000ft, I was not especially nervous, which was my main concern. I thought I shouldn’t have been that calm. I figured with it being a tandem jump, I was attached to a professional skydiver, so I had nothing to worry about. The experience itself was extraordinary. I was free-falling for about 50 seconds, which literally took my breath away. Once the parachute was deployed, I gradually descended for about 7 minutes, which gave me enough time to really take in the fantastic view. After a safe landing, it felt like the previous few minutes hadn’t happened. It was a surreal experience, and luckily I had the whole thing filmed so I can remind myself it did actually happen! I would definitely do it again, and unless you suffer from vertigo, I would recommend it to everyone.
I was delighted to raise over £750 for Big C, with many friends, family members, colleagues and SOAK being very generous in helping an important cause.
After my jump, I was invited by Big C to attend a tour of the research labs at the Quadram Institute, Norwich Research Park to see how my fundraising money was being spent. I feel many people question where their donations go, so I was happy to see that Big C actively encourage these lab tours for the general public to gain more information.
As part of the tour, I was shown around the building and in particular, the laboratories where the extensive cancer-fighting research happens. It was explained that a high percentage of cancer cases could be reduced by having a healthier diet. Dr Stephen Robinson, the Research Leader, went on to demonstrate how some of the many machines they use that are partly funded by Big C can replicate a human digestive system. This means that researchers can look into how digestive health and metabolism can affect the growth of bowel and liver cancer. Money from Big C also funds PhD studentships at the institute.
If you would like more information about Big C and the work they do, you can visit any of their centres across the region in Norwich, Kings Lynn, Gorleston and Great Yarmouth or visit their website.
You can read more about the fantastic research being undertaken at the Quadram Institute and their fight against cancer on their website.
SOAK kindly offer time off with pay (3 days per year) to undertake any charitable causes or fundraising events of our choosing. The team are then encouraged to feedback about their experiences, via a presentation or a blog post, just like this one! The team already have more charity days booked in over the next 12 months, so keep an eye here and on our social media to see what we’ve been up to.