Most friends would spend their time shopping, watching films or meeting up for a coffee. Stacey Weir (29, Whitehaven) and Lauren Graham (26, Whitehaven) are not your average friends. They are going to be joining forces as they skydive to raise money for Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) Cumbria on Saturday 29 April. The pair are jumping in memory of Stacey’s dad, John Hyncica, who sadly took his own life in 2014.
Each year, more than 6,000 people take their own lives across the UK: SOBS is a national charity which works to provide emotional support to those who have been left behind. SOBS Cumbria support groups meet once a month, with groups in North, South and West Cumbria. They also have a local 24/7 helpline.
The choice to raise funds for SOBS Cumbria was clear to Stacey. “When something like that [suicide] happens, it’s hard to understand what’s going on. With SOBS Cumbria, you’re speaking to people who have had similar experiences, so you’re with people who know what it feels like. In a way, you can relate to each other. Some people don’t have anyone, so it’s really important that the support is there for people who might be going through it by themselves.
“Lauren is one of my best friends; she saw how hard it was for me when my dad died. I told her about what I was planning to do and she offered to join me so that we could raise more money and help more people. We’re both really excited and nervous; Lauren’s definitely scared about the jump!”
SOBS Cumbria provides support locally to people in and around Cumbria, South Scotland, North Lancashire and North East England. “I’m glad I’m helping a local charity, because it means that I’m helping local people.
“Everyone says I’m crazy, but that I’m doing an amazing thing. They say my dad would be proud. I’ve always wanted to do a lot of extreme things, like bungee jumping and skydiving; my dad liked extreme things too.”
So far, the pair have raised £1,090 of their £2,000 target.
If you’d like to support Stacey and Lauren’s fundraising campaign, visit their BT MyDonate donation page. Alternatively, you can donate via JustTextGiving by texting SOBS00 to 70070 followed by the amount you wish to donate (e.g. “SOBS00 £30”). Donations to JustTextGiving start at £10. If you would like to donate by cheque, please make it payable to ‘SOBS Cumbria’ and send it to SOBS Cumbria, The Old British School, 15A Chapel Street, Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria, CA16 6QR.
If you are struggling with the death of someone who has taken their own life and need someone to listen to your experience and offer you support, please do get in touch. You can call the SOBS Cumbria 24/7 helpline on 07572 975 721 (John) or 07896 703 757 (Karan). You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can visit us on Facebook and Twitter at @SOBSCumbria.