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Skydiving Haverhill nurse raises money, and hopes, for hospital

Shannon Dilks about to take the plunge for charity
Shannon Dilks about to take the plunge for charity

An Addenbrookes nurse, who broke her fundraising target with a charity sky dive, is hoping her efforts will help children and young people with cancer.

Shannon Dilks, from Haverhill, is a healthcare assistant at Addenbrooke’s hospital’s paediatric oncology and haematology department.

On February 28, she undertook a sky dive and raised about £1,300 for Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust, beating her £1,000 target.

“It was amazing,” Shannon said. “My whole family surprised me by turning up, uncles, grand parents and everyone.

“I was one of the first to jump. I was strapped to this man. He was making jokes the whole way up.

When we jumped, we fell for about 45 seconds before opening the parachute. The view was incredible and he just said, ‘welcome to my office’. I thought it was the best line ever.

“The dive was great, but the focus has always been on the kids.”

Shannon had originally intended to use the money she had raised to buy toys and play equipment for the children and young people on her ward,

But, having heard about a pioneering therapy programme for patients in the USA, Shannon is now keen to see if the funds she’s raised can bring the same kind of services to the UK.

“They call it a graduation programme,” said Shannon. “At the moment, it’s not available on the NHS, but a lot of children who go to America for therapy or treatment have it.

“They help out and it helps them recover. They make a fuss of them and give them a certificate.

“It’s good for when they need more care. I’d like to bring this to Addenbrooke’s and other hospitals too.

“It helps families as well. It helps to help make the whole experience a bit less traumatic. I work with the kids and their parents and the nursing staff as well. I see both sides of the process.

“The money is with ACT [Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust] now. It’s up to them what they decide to do with it, but that’s the idea we’d like to see being developed.”

Shannon is now planning her next sky dive and says she is intending to do another in the summer to make money for children born with cleft palates.

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