Paraplegic skydiver takes huge leap of faith
She may not have the use of her legs, but Christine Lawn sure can fly.
The Ashburton woman threw herself out of a plane and into the record books by becoming the first paraplegic New Zealander to skydive solo.
The former jockey became a paraplegic in 2002 when she fell off her horse, but this didn't put a stop to the 40-year-old's adrenalin addiction.
Sky-diving offered a “mental break” from everyday life, she said.
“I love the adrenaline, the air-time and the feeling of flying.
“People might say I’m mad to do it, but you’re mad not to. You only live once.”
Prior to taking the 3600 metres (12,000 feet) solo leap at the NZ Skydiving School in Methven on Friday, she had completed four tandem jumps.
The thrill-seeker said she had heard a few horror stories of paraplegic skydivers suffering nasty injuries overseas due to the greater challenges in landing without the full use of your legs..
However, she said this failed to put her off jumping alone.
She had a little movement in her legs that allowed her to flip them forward as she skidded forward on her backside.
The landing on Friday was a bit bumpy, but a second solo jump yesterday proved much smoother, she said.
“I’m keen to go again tomorrow.’’
As well as skydiving, Lawn said she enjoyed motocross and horse-riding.
Head coach Gary Beyer, a world champion skydiver, said he was impressed with her jump.
"Jumping solo for the first time is very challenging, but Christine handled it really well. We are very proud of her and her achievements," Beyer said.
Lawn plans to complete more jumps in a bid to get her A Certificate in Skydiving.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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