Gemma Munro from Star of Markinch in Fife will be fulfilling a long-held ambition when she does her first skydive next month.
The 17 year old, who attends Fife College, is hoping that the parachute jump on July 28 at St Andrews will raise over £500 for a charity very close to her heart, Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF).
Gemma was just seven years old when she was diagnosed with the rare liver disease, primary sclerosing cholangitis.
And although the charity provided her parents with information about her condition, Gemma only connected with it last year when they invited her to take part in Talk Tell Transform, a project which enables young people with liver disease to use the latest digital technology to make a film telling their own story.
“By this time I have to admit I was in a pretty dark place,” said Gemma.
“Having a rare liver disease can make you feel so lonely, as if no-one knows what it’s like. But I went along and it changed everything for me.
“The film making process was great fun but, more than that, it was the people I met. Suddenly there were people who knew just what it was like to have a liver condition – people I could talk to.”
Two years later, Gemma is still close friends with the people she met through CLDF.
“It’s a massive support network for me and, if I didn’t have this, I know I would feel very differently about my liver condition,” she explained.
“And that’s why I am doing this skydive. I feel I can’t thank CLDF enough for what they did for me but I want to make sure that other young people in my situation have access to this kind of support. I admit it’s a crazy thing to do but I couldn’t have a better reason for doing it!”
Alison Taylor, CLDF Chief Executive, said: “We are the only UK charity dedicated to fighting all forms of childhood liver disease which we do by providing information to healthcare professionals, emotional support for families, funds for research and a voice for all those affected. We are delighted to have made a difference to Gemma and so grateful that she is planning to do this for us. We wish her luck for the sky dive and hope she has a fabulous experience.”
You can support Gemma by going to www.gofundme.com/gemmas-skydive-for-cldf.