From the Leap for Lupus Foundation:
On Sunday, August 21, a group of 26 Northwest skydivers set a new women’s free fall formation record for Washington State and the region. The 26-woman group included Valinda Mitchell, Carolyn Chow, Sanet DeLucia, Kasha Bell, Keri Bell, Jessie Farrington, Shayla Dupuy Short, Edirae Thatcher, Jenny Clayton, Rosie Thun, Jan Barry, Shawna Williams, Jill McArthur, D’arcy Kaaua, Gry Kristensen, Debbi Beckhorn and Lesa Matthews of the Puget Sound area; Cindy Stroup of Spokane; Nicole Rocco, Kellye Trant, Meryl Lipman, Frankie Bryant, and Jennifer Gaines of Portland; Valerie Estabrook and Pat Rhodes of Boise, and Corrie Veenstra, a former Oregon resident who now lives in Washington DC, but returned to be part of the jump.
The women jumped from two airplanes at 15,000 feet and linked up together in a free fall formation. The previous Northwest women’s record of 25 was set in Bremerton in 2005.
The record free fall was hosted and sponsored by Kapowsin Airsports at Sanderson Airfield in Shelton; it was part of a three day “Leap For Lupus” (LFL) event organized by the non-profit Leap for Lupus Foundation, which has raised over $85,000 for The Division of Rheumatology at the University of Washington.
The UW division lists Leap For Lupus as one of its top donors and it notes in particular the foundation’s support for the research of Dr. Grant Hughes into hormonal activation of Lupus.
In a press statement leading up to the event, the UW Division of Rheumatology said, “Thanks to the Leap for Lupus Foundation for their continuous support to the division. … Their gifts will continue to support the young investigators who are working hard to find a cure for Lupus”
LFL founder Valinda Mitchell of Orting, herself a long time Lupus patient, pointed to a natural connection between the women’s leap and Lupus research: “Of America’s 1.5million Lupus patients, 90% are women.”