August 23 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Jumping out of a plane at 13,000ft would frighten most people. But a brave Saffron Walden teenager whose family have been devastated by cancer will look to overcome her terrifying fear of heights to raise awareness and funds to help beat the disease.
County High pupil Grace Mattson will be taking the plunge on a tandem skydive in aid of Cancer Research.
The 15-year-old has experienced first hand what impact cancer can have on a family.
Her grandad, Clive Mattson, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007 but, after a radical operation, has recovered.
Last year Grace lost her nan, Pat Smith, to a rare skin cancer after a two-year battle. It was a devastating experience for all the family.
Then, in January this year, her mum Claire was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy.
Grace said: “Cancer has affected my family quite badly. My mum is now going through a tough time and it is scaring her.
“Heights are my worst fear – but I wanted to do something challenging, something as scary as possible to support her. Mum cried when I told her what I was doing, so she is proud.
“Hopefully I can raise as much money as I can.”
Grace, who will be 16 by the time the skydive comes on June 15, said that “car loads of people” will be travelling with her to the North London Airfield in a show of support.
For now though, the teenager is trying her best not to think about it.
“I am terrified – I cried when I went on Go Ape,” said Grace, who will be going to the school sixth form to study A-levels next year, and has aspirations to work in journalism.
“I’ve done Duke of Edinburgh activities but nothing even compares to this.
“There’s nothing you can do to prepare. It’s very much a question of turning up on the day and seeing how it goes.”
Grace set out to raise £450, but has recently topped £3,000.
To support Grace, visit justgiving.com/gracemattson.