Photo by Alan Mackay
With a clear blue sky above and the Fife landscape rolled out beneath, Rhona Penman celebrates her gradual return to health with a life-affirming tandem parachute jump for The ME Association at Skydive St Andrews.
"It was the most amazing day of my life and an experience that will stay with me forever", said Rhona, from Falkirk, who has now returned to work after a lengthy brush with ME.
In the tandem jump, she is pictured with Skydive St Andrews instructor Steve Lambert on her way to a safe and exhilarating landing.
"ME is such a bewildering condition with each day bringing new symptoms and challenges, certainly in the early days of the illness", she wrote a few weeks after the skydive. "I thought it wasn't real as many of the symptoms are so strange and don't make much sense at all.
"I am much more enlightened now and have developed by own coping strategies, which in the main have allowed me to return to work which I thoroughly enjoy and have also allowed me to return to exercise, which has always been a major part of my life. I have recently started running and am hoping to do a 5k run at the end of the month, a 10k in September and a marathon late next year.
"This is all being done under the careful guidance of my wonderful GP, who has been absolutey brilliant throughout my illness. He too is a runner so is very supportive in a practical sense. Obviously any deterioration in my condition may delay my running goals but I am determined to live my life and set myself challenges – but make time to celebrate each step along the way as a major achievement."
Rhona's tandem jump raised a magnificent £767.50, which will be split equally between ME Association general funds (thereby supporting our campaigns to gain more recognition and research for ME/CFS) and our Ramsay Research Fund (meaning that half will actually be spent on funding the physical research itself).