• T.M. O’Shaughnessy

Hudson resident Sandy Lawrence celebrates a perfect landing


PHOTO COURTESY CHRIS LAWRENCE

As reflected in Sandy Lawrence’s face, she found the skydiving experience to be ‘exhilarating.’

When Hudsonite Sandy Lawrence decided to mark a special birthday (on April 28 she turns 80), she did it with customary style and courage.

Her son Chris Lawrence explained.

“This past New Year’s, my Mum approached me with a special request. She said she wanted to skydive for her 80th birthday and asked if I would do the jump with her.”

Chris elaborated that while his mother’s request was a surprise, there might have been a clue or two that hinted at her special 80th-birthday wish.

“I’d always known that my mother used to para-sail,” he said. “And I also had experience para-sailing as well. So when she approached me to do a sky-dive jump with her, I was surprised – but so honoured.”

The jump was done in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico earlier this year where Sandy and husband Michael Lawrence had rented a house during the winter months. For most of the year the couple, who are known for their extensive involvement and support of several organizations in the community, live in Hudson where Chris and his brother and sister, Fraser and Tasha, grew up.

On the day of the jump, Chris acknowledged that there were a few nerves.

“I was certainly a little nervous, and Mum was too – and so was my Dad,” he laughed. Michael Lawrence was watching the jump from the ground.

PHOTO COURTESY CHRIS LAWRENCE

Chris Lawrence (left) helped his mom Sandy Lawrence fulfill a special 80th birthday wish by going skydiving with her in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico earlier this year.

But Chris reported that his mother enjoyed her first sky-dive thoroughly.

“Mum absolutely loved the experience – she said the jump was so exhilarating.”

Chris and Sandy did what is called a tandem jump, each of them sky-diving with their own guide.

“We went up in a little plane, a Cessna I think, up to 12,000 feet,” he explained. “And my Mum said that she wanted to be the one to go first – so she did. I jumped right after.”

He added that while he may have been the second to jump, he was the one to land on terra firma first.

“Though my Mum jumped before me, I actually landed first – I’m not sure why. Perhaps because I’m heavier.”

The entire sky-dive lasted a total of about 15 minutes, reported Chris. After initially jumping out of the plane, he and his mother free-fell together for about 25 seconds before their chutes were pulled.

“Free-falling is the most incredible experience,” he reported, a point that Sandy and he agreed upon when back on the ground.

“The feeling during those 25 seconds or so is just amazing – but the rest of the trip was also great. It took us about 14 minutes or so to drift down in our parachutes, making the whole jump about 15 minutes.”

There will be lots of celebrating this week for Sandy’s birthday, said her son.

“But she sure kicked it off in style by doing her first sky-dive to start it off!”

To see more photos and a video of Sandy’s inaugural jump, check out our Facebook page.

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