80-year-old cancer patient’s skydiving dream comes true

2019-08-06 14:50
Ampie Reinecke doing a tandem parachute jump at Skydive Mossel Bay. (PHOTO: Supplied)

Ampie Reinecke doing a tandem parachute jump at Skydive Mossel Bay. (PHOTO: Supplied)

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When you fling yourself from a plane at nearly 3 000m above ground, you instantly forget about anything outside that moment.

During the nearly three minutes of complete freedom, you even forget that your 80-year-old body is riddled with cancer, says Ampie Reinecke, who recently did a tandem parachute jump at Skydive Mossel Bay.

The jump wasn’t just a dream come true for Ampie – it was also a fundraiser for his charity, Skydive Kiddie’s Cancer Drive. He started the project this year in conjunction with the Cancer Society of South Africa to give financial aid to children whose lives have been touched by cancer, either directly or indirectly.

He doesn’t know how long he’ll be around for because his cancer is at an advanced stage. “I know I don’t have much time left – I’m certain of it. But at least I can tick skydiving off my bucket list,” he says.

As a young man Ampie was an avid skydiver, and completed nearly 200 jumps. He won two South African skydiving championships before his wife, Dot, whom he married in 1960, begged him to stop. “Her nerves were shattered every time I got into a plane. When a man’s wife speaks, he listens,” Ampie chuckles. “The last time I got into a parachuting suit was in 1967.”

Ampie Reinecke doing a tandem parachute jump at Sk

But he’d always longed to go skydiving again, he says.

Ampie and Dot have been living in Mossel Bay for the past 18 years. They don’t have children, which is why he’s reaching out to children whose lives are touched by cancer, he explains.

Ampie’s journey with cancer started in 1979 when he was diagnosed with skin cancer. Then four years ago he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which has since spread to his bones.

“I struggle to walk. But luckily you don’t have to walk from a plane – you simply fall!”

 

Read more on:    cancer
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