The Free-Fall Foundation gives the opportunity to experience a skydive to people that otherwise could not afford it. Recently, McKenah Childress got the opportunity to go skydiving.
AJ Johnson, the director of marketing at Skydive Chicago, described skydiving as a “life-changing” experience. “I know skydiving gives you the confidence to overcome many of life’s obstacles,” Johnson said. “It gives you perspective.”
As a result, Skydive Chicago has paired up with the Free-Fall Foundation (originating from Orange County, California) to give people “the thrill of a lifetime,” and give away free skydives to a select few individuals. Skydiving can cost around $229 (and higher with imagery packages added) and not everybody can afford it.
“This promotion comes from shared, simple dreams to share the sky with those who can’t afford it or those who need just a little push,” Johnson said, explaining why Skydive Chicago is collaborating with the Free-Fall Foundation.
As a result of this collaboration, 21-year-old McKenah Childress from Kouts, Indiana got to go skydiving.
Childress said that her friend nominated her after a family tragedy.
“My friend, Kristen Lovings, who is an experienced parachutist, nominated me last spring for the experience after I had a tragedy in my family. She thought it would help me cope with life a little better,” Childress said. “She thought it would help me find my way as I approached my 21st birthday.”
Childress agrees with Johnson by describing the skydive as “life-changing”.
“It was the neatest experience, definitely life-changing,” Childress said. “There’s nothing like jumping out of an airplane.”
Initially, before her jump, Childress admits she was a little nervous and scared. “The Skydive Chicago staff did much to calm me down,” Childress said. Then came her jump, thousands of feet above the ground.
“Once back on the ground after flying, floating in the air, I remember thinking to myself ‘Did I really do that?’ It was awesome,” Childress said. “Since then, I guess you could say I got the bug.”
Since her first jump, Childress has taken three more tandem jumps and has gone skydiving with her mother.
Matt Blank is the founder of the Free-Fall Foundation. Blank is a skydiving instructor at Perris Valley Skydiving Center. Blank enjoys creating “projects that inspire others to overcome their fears and get out into the wild.” His motto is “We’re going to the top and taking anyone who wants to go with us.”
Blank is an accelerated free-fall instructor, a tandem master, a static line instructor, a camera flyer, and a wingsuit coach. He also has a professional rating (which allows him to jump into stadiums and work on commercial projects) and is a B.A.S.E jumper.
The Free-Fall Foundation’s website states, “As skydivers, we have realized the amazing potential of our sport to enrich our lives and turn the edges of life we once feared falling over into the wonderful balconies we enjoy today. Any who has skydived experiences an indescribable feeling when they hit the air that we believe everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy.”