Carly skydives in memory of ‘life-changing’ teacher

24th April 2023

Blonde woman wearing white T-shirt and black trousers holding young girl with short hair and sunglasses in outdoors setting, hugging.

This summer, Carly Young from Lincoln is taking on a true once in a lifetime experience: skydiving to support St Barnabas.

20-year-old Carly is taking on this exhilarating challenge in memory of her former teacher Sam Pickersgill, who received care from St Barnabas during the last months of her life. Sam was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020, and the next year received the devastating news that she had a progressive brain and leptomeningeal disease.

Blonde woman wearing white T-shirt and black trousers holding young girl with short hair and sunglasses in outdoors setting. With caption underneath "Sam and Carly Young"

St Barnabas were able to support Sam with medical care, equipment to help her around the house to be as independent as possible, and counselling for her and the whole family to come to terms with their situation.

The charity also supported Sam in the summer of 2022 in her plea for a fundraiser to give her two young children something to look forward to during such a hard time. Sadly, Sam died shortly after this.

Sam was much more than a teacher to Carly; she was a mentor, a friend, and the one person who made Carly feel that she could achieve anything.

Carly says: “When I was 14, I had to switch schools due to some behavioural issues I was experiencing. Adults had been telling me I would never amount to anything, that I wasn’t going to get anywhere and that nobody could help me. Sam proved them wrong, and I could not be more grateful to her for showing me the potential I have.

“Sam was my Head of Year and I used to go see her in her office at breaktimes, we would talk and she was always smiling and laughing. She had a photo of her children on her desk and would tell me all about them.

“Sam made me sign up for the 100m race at school. I was terrified as I don’t like having a spotlight on me, but she gave me the confidence to go for it… and I came in 1st place! Sam was at the finish line, gave me a big hug, and whispered, “I told you; you can do anything.”

Young woman with short blonde hair and black hoody, holding dog and smiling

“She made me feel loved and worthy. I believe if I didn’t meet Sam, I wouldn’t be where I am now, studying at university. Sam meant so much to me and there’s not enough words in the world to say how remarkable she was.”

Sam eventually left Carly’s school, The Priory Witham Academy, to teach at another secondary school. However, Carly and Sam stayed in touch and messaged each other frequently. This is how Carly found out about Sam’s diagnosis.

Carly says: “She’s the bravest and strongest woman I knew, and I will always keep that close to me. The last time I saw Sam was two weeks before she passed away, it felt like we were never apart. She hugged me and told me she loved me and to keep reaching for the stars. That’s what I will do for you, Sam.”

Two people skydiving in tandem, with white plane and blue sky in background

Carly’s skydiving adventure takes place on 3rd June at Hibaldstow Airfield, just outside of Lincoln. There are still places to book for this date and the secondary date of 10th September, via the St Barnabas website:

The jump is a tandem skydive, meaning skydivers will be harnessed to a professional parachute instructor, who will also be in control of the landing. Skydivers must be at least 16 years of age, with no maximum age limit – depending on health.

This exhilarating experience costs just £50 to register, and St Barnabas kindly requests a fundraising minimum of £395.

People skydiving, photo taken from above with clouds and ground visible belowCarly says: “I’ve never done any extreme sport like skydiving before but I’m really looking forward to it. I’m actually terrified of heights so I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone! I know how proud Sam would be of me doing this skydive. Sam, when I’m up there, I hope you are flying right next to me. You will always be walking with me; I know you will.”

Annually, St Barnabas supports over 12,000 people across Lincolnshire who are living with a life-limiting or terminal illness. Each year, St Barnabas must raise at least £6.5million to keep its palliative and end of life care services available. The care that the charity offers free of charge would not be possible without the efforts of fundraisers such as Carly.

If skydiving is too extreme for you, but you would like to support St Barnabas, take a look at all upcoming fundraising ideas, events and activities:

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