The sky is the limit for a big-hearted gran set to conquer her fears when she takes the plunge for a vital cause.
Plucky pensioner Edith Mason admits she has a fear of falling - but that won’t stop her making a leap of faith when she gets strapped in for a sky dive to raise awareness of Parkinson’s.
The 67-year-old’s brother Chris Maughan battled Parkinson’s for two years before his death 15 years ago at the age of 69, while her brother-in-law is also living with the debilitating condition.
Mrs Mason, a school crossing patrol warden, will be descending from the clouds to raise precious pounds for the nationwide Parkinson’s UK charity at Shotton Colliery Airfield, near Peterlee, on Saturday, June 18.
The grandmother-of-eight and great grandmother-of-two says boxing icon Muhammad Ali’s brave decades-long fight against Parkinson’s up until his death last week has raised much-needed public awareness of an incurable condition which she says many sufferers used to carry with them with a secret shame.
She is no stranger to facing adversity head-on herself - having twice beat cancer.
I always say you have to think positive.Edith Mason
Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition, which causes the loss of nerve cells in the brain.
It is a complex condition with many symptoms - including tremors and a slowness of movement, as well as fatigue and problems with speech and communication.
Mrs Mason, from Vernon Close, South Shields, said; “Muhammad Ali’s battle with Parkinson’s has raised the profile of the condition.
“For years and years, no-one would even admit they had it.
“It was as if they felt ashamed, that there was a stigma attached to it, but there was no reason to feel that way.
“My brother was an electrician and it caused him shaking and tremors to the point where he couldn’t even put a screw in.
“He used to love a game of bingo but he couldn’t hold the pen properly.
“I told him he was too strong a character to let it beat him and he used a dabber to play instead.
“I always say you have to think positive.
“I had cancer twice myself but thankfully it was caught early.”
Mrs Mason says she is looking forward to reaching new heights - even though what goes up must come down.
She added; “It is not a problem with heights it is always a fear of falling I have had.
“But I will have a parachute and will be jumping in tandem with an instructor.
“I am looking forward to it.”
Mrs Mason has already collected £480 of her £550 miniumum target from friends and family and stil has her sights set on bringing in even more cash.
Sponsorship raised will help fund the charity’s work to find a cure and improve life for everyone affected by Parkinson’s.
To donate to the cause, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Edith-Mason