Written by Cory Twibell Friday, 06 August 2010 00:00
Some people skydive for the adrenaline rush, the incomparable thrill or simply to tell the tale upon returning to solid ground.
Rick Collins does it for charity.
Admittedly, Collins, a lawyer, author, actor and bodybuilder, was a little scared (or “definitely frightened,” as he recalled) before his first descent, yet chose not only to jump for the sheer excitement but for the benefit of others as well.
“If I’m going to do it, I may as well leave a good legacy behind … something I believe in. So I called the American Cancer Society and they said they’d support the idea,” Collins said.
Collins’ internal logic for skydiving was simple.
“I’m not great with heights, so it seemed to be a no-brainer to face my fears and overcome my height issues to take a plane 13,500 feet and throw myself out of it,” said Collins.
In 2009, Collins raised $15,000 with his inaugural jump and hopes to experience an even larger turnout in 2010, where he plans on taking the event to even greater heights.
“I threw out an invitation to the world for everyone to join in, and we currently have over 50 participants across the country – Canada, South Africa, Panama – it’s truly a global event,” said Collins.
He’s had family members and friends who’ve had issues with cancer, and the dates of the 2010 Leap for Life weren’t chosen at random.
“August 21 and 22 is the anniversary weekend of my cousin Donnie’s death. He was 21 years old and died of testicular cancer, and it’s something very meaningful to me,” said Collins.
Collins selected the LiveSTRONG foundation as the beneficiary of the Leap for Life event and set up a website (leapforlife.org) to spread the word.
“Death rate and survival rate for testicular cancer has really turned around [recently], and Lance Armstrong is living proof,” added Collins.
Collins called his first skydive “very liberating” and an “empowering experience,” but noted that there are some elements of the occurrence will linger in the subconscious mind.
“You’re so used to flying in a plane, the idea of having the side door open and just throwing yourself out of it, it’s just pretty off the chain,” said Collins.
“But the more trepidation and hesitation you have, the greater the return. You just did something you didn’t think you were capable of. You just expanded all of your possibilities,” he added.
“Any reader of the Westbury Times can donate through the website directly to LiveSTRONG or print out and mail a check in. Or anyone who wants to join from Long Island, you have my open invitation to contact me through the site,” said Collins.
In addition to the participants registered across the country, Los Angeles-based celebrity DJ JoJo Wright will be jumping to support Collins’ Leap for Life.
Collins also noted the “importance of making headway with research” and “how important it is for the LiveSTRONG foundation to do what they do for us.”
“Hopefully we’ll raise a lot of money and it’ll all go directly to LiveSTRONG,” said Collins.