Sally Gutteridge

Sally's fundraiser for Leeds Hospitals Charity

Fundraising for Leeds Hospitals Charity
£1,730
raised of £2,000 target
WORLD'S HIGHEST TANDEM SKYDIVE (18,000 FT) in Florida to raise money for Leeds Hospital Breast Cancer wards, 14 August 2024
We support Leeds Teaching Hospitals staff to deliver the best care for our patients

Story

On 14th August 2024 Jon (my husband) and I will be jumping out of a plane to do a SKYDIVE and crashing back down to earth at 120 MILES PER HOUR!

But this isn’t any old ‘post-cancer treatment skydive’ this is one of the WORLD’S HIGHEST JUMPS at 18,000 FT with over 90 seconds of freefall over Kennedy Space Center and the Space Coast in Florida, USA.

So why am I doing this insane challenge?

I found a lump in my left breast in September 2021. I had just started Year 2 of my Physiotherapy course, and this was not part of the plan. I did the sensible thing and booked an appointment with the doctor at the start of October, and she was worried it felt irregular. I was just 47.

I was referred to the 2 week cancer pathway for tests. I had a mammogram and a painful biopsy, I will never forget the nurse holding my hand during this procedure. I got the news very quickly afterwards that it was breast cancer. My surgeon at St James's Hospital was amazing, he said I would survive this, but he needed to operate fast and he had a slot the following week. I had to have a mastectomy (partly because of family history) and reconstruction in my left breast, which would be done at the same time. I had to do it all on my own because of Covid, so Jon literally dropped me at the door at 7am and left. This was hard on both of us. The operation went well (even though I reacted to the blue surgical dye), and I met a great friend on the ward also having an operation, who helped me keep my spirits up.

I had to have two drain bags in for a couple of weeks after the operation, and this was not easy, and they sometimes had to be changed at the hospital during this time. I also had to do exercises every day to help my recovery from the op. I had what was called an "Oncoscore" calculated to see if I would benefit from chemotherapy. I was hoping that I would not need it, but the consultant told me that I would and it would start from January 2022. This meant I needed to be careful not to get ill before chemo, so I was limited to staying in Leeds over Christmas.

I was very nervous and scared about this, and again I had to face it alone because of Covid. I had my Wonder Woman t-shirt and socks on, and I started 6 rounds of chemotherapy. I am not going to lie, this was brutal, and the cycle of every 3 weeks took its toll on me. I decided to use the cooling scalp hat to try and keep my hair, and it did work. I lost some hair so I cut it short (donated my long hair to The Little Princess Trust) and my hairdresser was so supportive during this period (she still is). I could barely walk around the block when the effects were at their worst, Jon was doing an amazing job of caring for me. We also had many unplanned hospital trips when I got a blood clot in my arm after chemo, or my thumb decided to swell up. I can remember us coming out of the hospital at 2am one night after treatment.

The nursing staff were SO amazing during this period, they got me through it, and were always so caring. All of the staff were so incredible they were regularly treated to chocolates and treats, and a bottle of whisky for my consultant. What else got me through was meeting other women going through it at the "Look Good Feel Good" session at Maggie's near St James's hospital. Some of those women are now my friends, you know who you are.

I had another operation in January 2023 for my symmetry surgery. By this point I had started Year 2 again of my Physiotherapy course, but this operation delayed my studies a bit, so it may prolong my graduation date. Since then I have had ongoing care from the oncology team, as there are still treatments I need involving an IV drip to strengthen my bones, aromatase inhibitors and induced menopause injections to prevent my breast cancer returning. In spite of all this I am determined to finish my course, and become a Physiotherapist. I will be making sure that these donations go directly to the breast cancer care wards at St James's hospital Leeds, where I was treated. They deserve a medal.

The funds are going to my hospital, but when Jon and I are jumping out of the plane we are directly sticking two fingers up to cancer. I will be thinking of my mum, my nan, my auntie, Jeremy (my friend) and my dog Barney when I jump. It means the world to me that you have read this, and thank you for sponsoring me so much.

There will be recorded footage of the jump so you can see it all!

Thank you.

Sally and Jon

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About the charity

Our NHS staff already do an incredible job caring for patients and your support can help them do even more. By donating to Leeds Hospitals Charity, you can fund the things that make a real difference to patients and their families, and help make our hospitals even better.

Donation summary

Total raised
£1,729.16
+ £363.25 Gift Aid
Online donations
£1,729.16
Offline donations
£0.00

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