By dominic bareham
Thursday, April 5, 2012
When parents Michael and Jane Jones prepare to skydive from a plane high over the Northamptonshire countryside, they will know how important their fundraising stunt will be.
For the charity Dream Flight came to the Long Stratton couple’s aid by arranging for their son Callum, 12, who has leukaemia, to have a 10-day holiday of a lifetime in Orlando, USA, with 191 other sick and disabled children.
The holiday, visiting some of the sights including the Disneyworld and Seaworld theme parks, is a chance for children to spend time away from their parents and learn independence.
The children get to meet celebrities at a pre-trip party in a Heathrow airport hangar before being whisked off in a British Airways Boeing 747 to start their dream holiday with doctors and nurses present to watch over them.
Mr Jones, 46, said: “They charter a Boeing 747 from British Airways and it is all very overwhelming. Callum was lucky enough to go on the charity’s 25th anniversary trip and there are volunteers in America who meet the children.”
His wife said she was the more nervous about doing the skydive at Hinton airfield on May 5, but said the thought of raising money for Dream Flight would inspire her to take the plunge.
She added: “I am petrified of heights. I am all right in a plane, but not jumping out of one. However, I am determined I am going to do it.”
Long Stratton High School pupil Callum was diagnosed with leukaemia on June 1, 2010 after falling so ill he was unable to eat and his skin had turned yellow. He also developed bruises all over his body and red blood spots on his legs.
Mrs Jones, 40, a former nursing assistant at the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, added: “It was just mother’s instinct. I just did not like the look of him. He looked awful and that was when the doctors said there was something wrong with him and we took him to the Jenny Lind Children’s Hospital in Norwich.”
But the youngster is now 86 weeks into a 165-week course of treatment and is showing signs of progress, putting on weight and being able to ride a bike to school, although the family will not know if he is clear until October 2013 when he is due to have a bone marrow test.
To sponsor the couple’s charity skydive, visit www.justgiving.com/janeyjones or www.justgiving.com/mick1966