Laois teenager skydives for youth suicide prevention

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Email:

lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie

Laois teenager skydives for youth suicide prevention

Thomas Weight doing his skydive in Clonbullogue Airfield.

A Portarlington teenager has fulfilled his ambition to do a skydive as soon as he was old enough to qualify.

Thomas Weight who plays rugby with the local club and is also a keen amateur photographer,  had planned to do the skydive in nearby Clonbullogue Airfield for his 16th birthday last April.

He chose Youth Suicide Prevention Ireland because he believes that there is not enough support for young people with mental illness in his own community.  Thomas also did the jump in memory of his uncle Karl.

As with most events, it was delayed for three months to Covid-19 but finally his moment came on Sunday, July 19.

The dive involved climbing to 13,000 feet, and doing a tandem parachute jump. The first three minutes were a freefall dive over the countryside.

There was no fear at all from an excited Thomas beforehand, and he says he had a super dive.

“The skydive was excellent, it went very well, an easy process,” said Thomas who is a twin to sister Sophie and is going into Leaving Cert year in Coláiste Iosagáin.

He thanks everyone for their support. 

“I want to thank everyone who donated to this important cause Youth Suicide prevention Ireland, including Leinster rugby and Irish sevens players and to Mikhail Baskov who really supported my campaign,” he said.

The condition for the jump was that Thomas had to raise at least €500 for the charity, which visits schools to give free workshops on mental health. Great support came through and he well exceeded the target, raising €1710 so far for Youth Suicide prevention Ireland. 

His fundraiser remains open to sponsorship until February 2021. See  https://skydive.yspi.ie/thomas or text YSPI SFL5480 to 50300  to make a €4 donation.

“All donations will be greatly appreciated,” said Thomas.