John’s leap of love

A skydiving tribute to Julie

Meet John Sheard, a keen supporter of Rowcroft Hospice who recently took fundraising to new heights—literally. In a heartfelt tribute to his late mother-in-law Julie Midcalf from Brixham, John embarked on a skydiving adventure, raising funds and awareness for the hospice.

A remarkable woman remembered

“Julie was an absolutely amazing woman,” says John. “She was always there for all the family and she was very much a mother figure to me.” Julie was married to Mick and had five children – Andrew, Robert, Simon, Kim and Joanne.

Outstanding care in difficult times

Julie’s journey with myeloma, a form of blood cancer, brought Rowcroft into her life in 2021. As her health declined, Rowcroft’s team supported Julie at home before she later transitioned into the Inpatient Unit for her final weeks.

“The care that Julie received was outstanding,” remembers John. “It was such an emotional time but the Rowcroft staff were so caring and helpful, we just can’t praise them enough. They really looked after Julie, and she was treated with such dignity and respect.

“If the care hadn’t been there, I have absolutely no idea what Julie would have gone through. I’m so grateful to everyone who looked after us, they didn’t just look after Julie, but they supported the whole family.”

Skydiving for a cause

“A year and a half after Julie died, in 2023 I went along to the Meadow of Memories celebration at the hospice, and I announced to the family that I was going to do a skydive. They all looked a bit shocked and didn’t believe me.

“To be honest, I have absolutely no idea why I decided to do a skydive! It wasn’t something I’d planned at all; it was just a spur of the moment decision. I was just thinking that Rowcroft is such a wonderful place, I need to raise some money to support this charity. And it just snowballed from there.”

Flying high

“On the day of the skydive, I wasn’t scared or worried at all; in fact I felt really calm. I even had a heart rate monitor on my watch and this was showing that my heartrate was normal.

“We went up in the plane and I was strapped to an instructor. Even before we jumped out, I wasn’t worried at all. It was just one of those mad moments but it turned out to be absolutely amazing. At the time, I was thinking about my mother-in-law; I felt closer to her up there. I think she’s the reason I was brave. She would have been so proud of me, though she would have told me I was mad!

“We began freefalling for about 30 seconds and were dropping so fast through the air. There was so much wind noise and my cheeks were wobbling! We were travelling about 140 mph towards the ground, but then the parachute opened and it suddenly became deadly quiet and peaceful, I couldn’t hear a thing. It was just an amazing feeling – so exhilarating – and we just floated peacefully to the ground. The view was brilliant and we could see for miles as it was such a clear day. It was better than exhilarating, it was absolutely incredible.”

A proud moment and lasting legacy

“All in all, with gift aid I raised £675 for the hospice. I was very pleased with myself for achieving this as I know it will make such a difference for other families experiencing Rowcroft’s care.

“If anyone’s thinking of doing a skydive for Rowcroft, I would say just do it, don’t think about it! If I had the chance I would certainly do it again.”

Take the leap and skydive for Rowcroft

Feeling inspired? If you’d like to take the leap for a brilliant cause, then why not sign up for a Rowcroft skydive? Your adrenalin-filled adventure will contribute to the exceptional care that Rowcroft provides to individuals and families in their most challenging times. Find out more about skydiving here.

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